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Whoever has had an opportxmiiy of becoming ac- 
quainted with the mental condition of the intelligent 
classes in Europe and America, mnst have perceived 
that there is a great and rapidly-increasing departure 
from the public religious faith, and that, while among 
the more frank this divergence is not concealed, there 
is a far more extensive and far more dangerous seces- 
sion, private and unacknowledged. 

So wide-spread and so powerful is this secession, 
that it can neither he treated with contempt nor with 
punishment. It cannot be extinguished by derision, 
by vituperation, or by force. The time is rapidly 
approaching when it wiU give rise to serious poHtical 

Ecclesiastical spirit no longer inspires the policy of 
the world. Military fervor in behalf of faith has dis- 
appeared. Its only souvenirs are the marble effigies 
of crusading knights, reposing in the silent crypts of 
churches on their tombs. 

That a crisis is impending is shown by the attitude 
of the great powers toward the papacy. The papacy 


represents the ideas and aspirations of two-thirds of the 
population of Europe. It insists on a political suprem- 
acy in accordance with its claims to a divine origin 
and mission, and a restoration of the mediaeval order 
of things, loudly declaring that it will accept no recon- 
ciliation with modem civilization. 

The antagonism we thus witness between Keligion 
and Science is the continuation of a struggle that com- 
menced when Christianity began to attain political pow- 
er. A divine revelation must necessarily be intolerant 
of contradiction ; it must repudiate all improvement in 
itself, and view with disdain that arising from the pro- 
gressive intellectual development of man. But our 
opinions on every subject are continually liable to mod- 
ification, from the irresistible advance of human knowl- 

Can we exaggerate the importance of a contention in 
which every thoughtful person must take part whether 
he will or not ? In a matter so solemn as that of reli- 
gion, aU men, whose temporal interests are not involved 
in existing institutions, earnestly desire to find the 
truth. They seek information as to the subjects in 
dispute, and as to the conduct of the disputants. 

The history of Science is not a mere record of iso- 
lated discoveries ; it is a narrative of thfe conflict of two 
contending powers, the expansive force of the human 
intellect on one side, and the compression arising from 
traditionary faith and human interests on the other. 

No one has hitherto treated the subject from this 


point of view. Tet from this point it presents itseK 
to US as a living issue — ^in fact, as the most impoiiant 
of aU living issues. 

A few years ago, it was the politic and therefore 
the proper course to abstain from all allusion to this 
controversy, and to keep it as far as possible in the 
background. The tranquillity of society depends so 
mucb on the stability of its religious convictions, that 
no one can be justified in wantonly disturbing them. 
But faith is in its nature unchangeable, stationary; 
Science is in its nature progressive ; and eventually a 
divergence between them, impossible to conceal, must 
take place. It then becomes the duty of those whose 
lives have made them familiar with botb modes of 
thought, to present modestly, but firmly, their views ; 
to compare the antagonistic pretensions calmly, impar- 
tially, philosophically. History shows that, if this be 
not done, social misfortunes, disastrous and enduring, 
will ensue. . When the old mythological rehgion of 
Europe broke down under the weight of its own incon- 
sistencies, neither the Koman emperors nor the phi- 
losophers of those times did any thing adequate for the 
guidance of public opinion. They left religious affairs 
to take their chance, and accordingly those affairs fell 
into the hands of ignorant and infuriated ecclesiastics, 
parasites, eunuchs, and slaves. 

. The intellectual night which settled on Europe, in 
consequence of that great neglect of duty, is passing 
away ; we live in the daybreak of better things. So- 


ciety is anxionsly expecting light, to see in what direo- 
tion it is drifting. It plainly discerns that the track 
along which the voyage of civiKzation has thus far been 
made, has been left ; and that a new departure, on an 
unknown sea, has been taken. 

Though deeply impressed with such thoughts, I 
should not have presumed to write this book, or to 
intrude on the public the ideas it presents, had I not 
made the facts with which it deals a subject of long 
and earnest meditation. And I have gathered a strong 
incentive to undertake this duty from the circumstance 
that a "History of the Intellectual Development of Eu- 
rope," published by me several years ago, which has 
passed through many editions in America, and has been 
reprinted in numerous European languages, English, 
French, German, Russian, Polish, Servian, etc., is every- 
where received with favor. 

In collecting and arranging the materials for the 
volumes I published under the title of "A History of 
the American Civil War," a work of very great labor, 
I had become accustomed to the comparison of con- 
flicting statements, the adjustment of conflicting claims. 
The approval with which that book has been received 
by the American public, a critical judge of the events 

considered, has inspired me with additional confidence. 


I had also devoted much attention to the experimental 
investigation of natural phenomena, and had published 
many well-known memoirs on such subjects. And per- 
haps no one can give himself to these pursuits, and spend 


a large part of Ms life in the public teaching of science, 
without partaking of that love of impartiality and truth 
which Philosophy incites. She inspires us with a desire 
to dedicate our days to the good of our race, so that in 
the fading light of life's evening we may not, on look- 
ing back, be forced to acknowledge how unsubstantial 
and useless are the objects that we have pursued. 

Though I have spared no pains in the composition 
of this book, I am very sensible how unequal it is to 
the subject, to do justice to which a knowledge of sci- 
ence, history, theology, politics, is required ; every page 
should be alive with intelligence and glistening with 
facts. But then I have remembered that this is only as 
it were the preface, or forerunner, of a body of litera- 
ture, which the events and wants of our times will call 
forth. We have come to the brink of a great intel- 
lectual change. Much of the frivolous reading of the 
present will be supplanted by a thoughtful and austere 
literature, vivified by endangered interests, and made 
fervid by ecclesiastical passion. 

What I have sought to do is, to present a clear and 
impartial statement of the views and acts of the two 
contending parties. In one sense I have tried to iden- 
tify myself with each, so as to comprehend thoroughly 
their motives ; but in another and higher sense I have 
endeavored to stand aloof, and relate with impartiality 
their actions. 

I therefore trust that those, who may be disposed to 
mticise this book, will bear in mind that its object is 


not to advocate the views and pretensions of either 
party, but to explain clearly, and without shrinking, 
those of both. In the management of each chapter 
I have usually set forth the orthodox view first, and 
then followed it with that of its opponents. 

In thus treating the subject it has not been necessary 
to pay much regard to more moderate or intermediate 
opinions, for, though they may be intrinsically of great 
value, in conflicts of this kind it is not with the mod- 
erates but with the extremists that the impartial reader 
is mainly concerned. Their movements determine the 

For this reason I have had little to say respecting 
the two great Christian confessions, the Protestant and 
Greek Churches. As to the latter, it has never, since 
the restoration of science, arrayed itself in opposition to 
the advancement of knowledge. On the contrary, it 
has always met it with welcome. It has observed a 
reverential attitude to truth, from whatever quarter it 
might come. Kecognizing the apparent discrepancies 
between its interpretations of revealed truth and the 
discoveries of science, it has always expected that sat- 
isfactory explanations and reconciliations would ensue, 
and in this it has not been disappointed. It would 

have been well for modern civilization if the Eoman 


Church had done the same. 

In speaking of Christianity, reference is generally 
made to the Eoman Church, partly because its adherents 
compose the majority of Christendom, partly because 


its demands are the most pretentious, and partly because 
it has commonly sought to enforce those demands by 
the civil power. None of the Protestant Churches has 
ever occupied a position so imperious — none has ever 
had such wide-spread political influence. For the most 
part they have been averse to constraint, aujd except in 
very few instances their opposition has not passed be- 
yond the exciting of theological odium. 

As to Science, she has never sought to ally herself to 
civil power. She has never attempted to throw odium 
or inflict social ruin on any human being. She has 
never subjected any one to mental torment, physical 
twture, least of all to death, for the purpose of uphold- 
ing or promoting her ideas. She presents herself un- 
stained by cruelties and crimes. But in the Yatican — 
we have only to recall the Inquisition — ^the hands that 
are now raised in appeals to the Most Merciful are 
crimsoned. They have been steeped in blood 1 

There are two modes of historical composition, the 
artistic and the scientific. The former implies that men 
give origin to events ; it therefore selects some promi- 
nent individual, pictures him under a fanciful form, 
and makes him the hero of a romance. The latter, in- 
sisting that human a£Eairs present an unbroken chain, in 
which each fact is the offspring of some preceding fact, 
and the parent of some subsequent fact, declares that 
men do not control events, but that events control men. 
The former gives origin to compositions, which, however 
much they may interest or delight us, are but a grade 


above novels; the latter is austere, perhaps even repul- 
sive, for it sternly impresses us with a conviction of the 
irresistible dominion of law, and the insignificance of 
human exertions. In a subject so solemn as that to 
which this book is devoted, the romantic and the popu- 
lar are altogether out of place. He who presumes to 
treat of it must fix his eyes steadfastly on that chain of 
destiny which universal history displays; he must tnm 
witi Lain from the phantom infpoLres of pontiffs 
and statesmen and kings. 

If any thing were needed to show us the untrust- 
worthiness of artistic historical compositions, our per- 
sonal experience would furnish it. How often do our 
most intimate friends fail to perceive the real motives 
erf our every-day actions; how frequently they misin- 
terpret our intentions ! If this be the case in what is 
passing before our eyes, may we Hot be satisfied that it 
is impossible to comprehend justly the doings of persons 
who lived many years ago, and whom we have never seen. 

In selecting and arranging the topics now to be pre- 
sented, I ha-ve been guided in part by "the Confession" 
of the late Vatican Council, and in part by the order of 
events in history. Not without interest will the reader 
remark that the subjects offer themselves to us now 
as they did to the old philosophers of Greece. We 
still deal with the same questions about which they dis- 
puted. What is God? What is the soul? What is 
the world ? How is it governed ? Have we any stand- 
ard or criterion of truth ? And the thoughtful reader 

PREFACE. x\\{ 

will earnestly ask, " Are our solutions of these prob- 
lems any better than theirs ? " 

The general argument of this book, then, is as fol- 

I first direct attention to the origin of modem sci- 
ence as distinguished from ancient, by depending on 
observation, experiment, and mathematical discussion, 
instead of mere speculation, and shall show that it was 
a consequence of the Macedonian campaigns, which 
brought Asia and Europe into contact. A brief sketch 
of those campaigns, and of the Museum of Alexandria, 
illustrates its character. 

Then with brevity I recaU the weU-known origin 
of Christianity, and show its advance to the attainment 
of imperial power, the transformation it underwent by 
its incorporation with paganism, the existing religion 
of the Koman Empire. A clear conception of its in- 
compatibility with science caused it to suppress forcibly 
the Schools of Alexandria. It was constrained to this 
by the political necessities of its position. 

The parties to the conflict thus placed, I next relate 
the story of their first open struggle ; it is the first or 
Southern Eef ormation. The point in dispute had re- 
spect to the nature of God, It involved the rise of 
Mohammedanism. Its result was, that muoJi of Asia 
and Africa, with the historic cities Jerusalem, Alex- 
andria, and Carthage, were wrenched from Christendom, 
and the doctrine of the Unity of God established in the 
larger portion of what had been the Eoman Empire. 


This political event was followed by the restoration 
of science, the establishment of colleges, schools, libra- 
ries, thronghout the dominions of the Arabians. Those 
conquerors, pressing forward rapidly in their intellect- 
ual development, rejected the anthropomorphic ideas of 
the nature of God remaining in their popular belief, 
and accepted other more philosophical ones, akin to 
those that had long previously been attained to in 
India. The result of this was a second conflict, that 
respecting the nature of the soul. Under the designa- 
tion of Averroism, there came into prominence the the- 
ories of Emanation and Absorption. At the close of the 
middle ages the Inquisition succeeded in excluding 
those doctrines from Europe, and now the Vatican 
Council has formally and solemnly anathematized them. 

Meantime, through the cultivation of astronomy, 
geography, and other sciences, correct views had been 
gained as to the position and relations of the earth, and 
as to the structure of the world ; and since Religion, 
resting itseH on what was assumed to be the proper 
interpretation of the Scriptures, insisted that the earth 
is the central and most importapt part of the universe, 
a third conflict broke out. In this Galileo led the way 
on the part of Science. Its issue was the overthrow of 
the Churclj on the question in dispute. Subsequently a 
subordinate controversy arose respecting the age of the 
world, the Church insisting that it is only about six 
thousand years old. In this she was again overthrown. 

The light of history and of science had been gradu- 


ally spreading over Europe. In the sixteenth century 
the prestige of Koman Christianity was greatly dimin- 
ished by the intellectual reverses it had experienced^ 
and also by its political and moral condition. It was 
clearly seen by many pious men that Eeligion was not 
accountable for the false position in which she was 
found, but that the misfortune was directly traceable to 
the alliance she had of old contracted vrith Eoman pa- 
ganism. The obvious remedy, therefore, was a return 
to primitive purity. Thus arose the fourth conflict, 
known to us as the Reformation — ^the second or North- 
em Reformation. The special form it -assumed was a 
contest respecting the standard or criterion of truth, 
whether it is to be found in the Church or in the 
Bible. The determination of this involved a settle- 
ment of the rights of reason, or intellectual freedom. 
Luther, who is the conspicuous man of the epoch, car- 
ried into effect his intention with no inconsiderable 
success ; and at the close of the struggle it was found 
that Northern Europe was lost to Roman Christianity. 

We are now in the midst of a controversy respecting 
the mode of government of the world, whether it be by 
incessant divine intervention, or by the operation of pri- 
mordial and unchangeable law. The intellectual move- 
ment of Christendom has reached that point which 
Arabism had attained to in the tenth and eleventh cen- 
turies; and doctrines which were then discussed are pre- 
senting themselves again for review ; such are those of 
Evolution, Creation, Development, 


Offered under these general titles, I think it will be 
found that all the essential points of this great contro- 
versy are induded. By grouping under these compre- 
hensive heads the facts to be considered, and dealing 
with each group separately, we shall doubtless acquire 
clear views of their inter-connection and their histori- 
cal succession. 

I have treated of these conflicts as nearly as I con- 
veniently could in their proper chronological order, and, 
for the sake of completeness, have added chapters on — 

An examination of what Latin Christianity has done 
for modem civilization. 

A corresponding examination of what Science has 

The attitude of Roman Christianity in the impend- 
ing conflict, as defined by the Vatican Council. 

The attention of many truth-seeking persons has 
been so exclusively given to the details of sectarian dis- 
sensions, that the long strife, to the history of which 
these pages are devoted, is popularly but little known. 
Having tried to keep steadfastly in view the determina- 
tion to write this work in an impartial spirit, tp speak 
with respect of the contending parties, but never to con-* 
ceal the truth, I commit it to the considerate judgment 
of the thoughtful reader. 

Univirsitt, New York, December ^ 1878. 




Bdigiotu condition of the Greeks in the fourth century before Christ,^' 
Their invasion of the Persian Empire brings them in contact with 
new aspects of Nature^ and familiarizes them with new religious syS' 
terns. — 2%« military^ engineering^ and scientife activity^ stimulated 
by the Macedonian campaigns^ leads to the establishment in Alez- 
andria of an instate, the Museum^ for the cultivation of knowledge 
by experiment^ observation^ and mathematical discussion, — B is the 
origin of Science page 1 



Bdigious condition of the Homan Republic, — The adoption of imperial' 
ism leads to monotheism, — Christianity spreads over the Moman 
Empire, — The circumstances under which it attained imperial power 
make its union with Paganism a political necessity, --^ Tertullian^s 
description of its doctrines and practices, — D^asing effect of the 
policy of Constantine on it — Its aJUance with the civil power, — Its 
ineompatibility with science, — Destruction of the Alexandrian Ia" 
brary and prohibition of philosophy, — ExposUion of the Augtutinian 
philosophy and Patristic science generally, — The Scriptures m^ule the 
standard of science p. 84 

xviii CONTENTS. 



The EffypHariB insist on the introduction of (he worship of the Vtrffin 
Mary, — They are resisted by Nestor^ (he Patriarch of Constantinople^ 
Jmt eventually^ throuyh their inftuenoe toith the emperor, cause Nes- 
tor's exile and ihe dispersion of his followers, 

Prdude to the SotUhem Heformaiion. — The Persian attack ; its moral 

The Arabian JieformaHon, — Mohammed is brought in contact with the 
Nestorians, — He adopts and extends their principles^ rejecting the 
worship of the Virffin, the doctrine of the Trinity, and every thing 
in opposition to the unity of Ood, — He extinguishes idolatry in 
Arabia, by force, and prepares to make war on the Roman Empire, 
— His successors conquer Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, North Africa, 
Spain, and invade France, 

As the resuU of this conflict, the doctrine of the unity of God was estah- 
lished in the greater part of the Roman Empire. — The cultivation of 
science was restored, and Christendom lost many of her most illustrious 
capitals, as Alexandria, Carthage, and, above aU, Jerusalem page 68 



By the influence of the Nestorians and Jews, the Arabians are turned to 
the cultivation of Science, — They modify their views as to the destiny 
of man, and obtain true conceptions respecting the structure of the 
toorld, — They ascertain the size of the earth, and determine its shape, 
— Their khalifs collect great libraries, patronize every department of 
science and literature, establish astronomical observatories, — They 
develop the mathematical sciences, invent algdyra, and improve geom- 
etry and trigonometry.-^They collect and trdnslate the old Cheek 
mathematical and (istronomical works, and adopt the indttcHve method 
of Aristotle. — They establish many colleges, and, with the aid of the 
Nestorians, organize a public-school systern, — They introduce the 
Arabic numerals and arithmetic, and ccOatcgue and give nam£S to 
the stars, — They lay the foundation of modem astronomy, chemistry, 
and physics, and introduce great improvements in agriculture and 
manufactures P. 102 





European ideas respecting the soul.-^It resembles the form of the body. 

Philosophical views of the Orientals,— Th£ Vedie theology and Buddhism 
assert the doctrine of emanation and absorption. — It is advocated by 
Aristotle, toTio is followed by the Alexandrian school, and subsequently 
by the Jews and Arabians, — It is found in the writings of JErigena, 

Connection of this doctrine with the theory of conservation and eorre* 
lotion of force. — FaraUel between the origin and destiny of the body 
and the soul, — 2^ necessity of founding human on comparative 

Averroism, which is based on these facts, is brought into Christendom 
through Spain and Sicily, 

History of the repression of Averroism, — Revolt of Islam against it, — 

Antagonism of the Jewish synjagogues, — Its destruction undertaken 

by the papacy. — Institution of the Inquisition in Spain, — Frightful 

persecutions and their results, — Expulsion of the Jews and Moors, — 

Overthrow of Averroism in Eurcpe, — Decisive action of the late 

Vatican Council . . page 119 



Scriptural view of the world: the earth a flat surface ; location of heaven 

Scientific view : the earth a globe ; its size determined; its position in and 

relations to the solar system, — 27ie three great voyages, — ColumJyuSy 

De Qama, Magellan, — CircumnavigaJtion of the earth. — DeterminO" 

Hon of its curvature by the measurement of a degree and by thepen- 

The discoveries of Copernicus. — Invention of the telescope, — Galileo 

brought before the Inquisition. — His punishment. — Victory over the 

Attempts to ascertain the dimensions of the solar system. — Determination 

of the swfCs parallax by the transits of Venus, — Insignificance of 

the earth and man. 
Ideas respecting the dimensions of the universe, — FaraUax of the stars, — 

The plurality of worlds asserted by Bruno, — He is seized and mur' 

dered by the Inquisition p. 162 



Scriptural view that the earth is ovdy six thowand years old^ and that it 
was made in a v)eek, — Patristic chronobgy fownded on the ages of the 
patriarchs. — Difficulties arising from different estimates in different 
versions of the Bible, 

Legend of the Bduge, — The repeopling. — 7%« Tower of Bahd ; the conr 
fusion of tongues, — The primitive language. 

Discovery by Cassini of the oblateness of the planet Jupiter. — Discovery by 
Newton of the oblateness of the Mirth. — Deduction that she has been 
modeled by mechanical causes, — Confirmaiion of this by geological 
discoveries respecting aqueous rocks; corroboration by organic re- 
mains.r^The necessity of admitting enormowly long periods of time, 
— Displacement of the doctrine of Creation by that of Evolution. — 
Discoveries respecting the Antiquity of Man, 

The time-scale and space^cale of the world are infinite. — Moderation 
with which the discussion of the Age of the World has been con- 
ducted PAGB 182 



Ancient philosophy declares that man has no means of ascertaining the 

Differences of bdief arise amxmg the early Christians. — An ineffectual aU 
tempt is made to remedy them by Councils, — Miracle and ordeal proof 

The papacy resorts to auricular confession and the Inquisition. — It per' 
petrates frighJtfvl atrocities for the suppression of differences of 

Effect of ihe discovery of the Pandects of Justinian and development of the 
canon law on the nature of evidence, — It becomes more scientific. 

The Reformation establishes the rights of individual reason. — CalhoUdsm 
cuserls thai the criterion of truth is in the Church. It restrains the 
reading of books by the Index EApurgatorius^ and combats dissent 
by such means as the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve, 

Examination of the authenticity of the Pentateuch as the Protestant crite- 
rion. — Spurious character of those books. 

For Science the criterion of truth is to be found in the revelations of JVo- 
ture : for the Protestant^ it is in the Scriptures ; for the Catholic^ in 
an infallible Pope p. 201 




There are two eonceptione of the government of the tcorld: 1, By Provu 
dence; 2. By Law, — The former maintained by the priesthood. — Sketch 
of the introduction of the kUter, 

Kepler discovers the laws thai preside over the solar system. — His works are 
denounced by papal authority.— 77i£ foundations of mechanical phi- 
losophy are laid by Da Vinci. — Galileo discovers the fundamental laws 
of Dynamics. — Newton applies them to the movements of the celestial 
bodies^ and shows that the solar system is governed by mathematical 
necessity. — Herschd extends that conclusion to the universe. — The 
nebular hypothesis. — Theological exceptions to it, 

Evidences of the control of law in the construction of the earth, and in the 
development of the animal and plant series. — They arose by Evolur 
Hon, not by Creation, 

The reign of law is exhibited by the historic career of human societies^ and 
in the case of individual man. 

Partial adoption of this view by some of the Reformed Churches p. 228 



For more than a thousand years Latin Christianity controlled the inteUi- 
gence of Europe^ and is responsible for the residt. 

That result is manifested by the condition of the city of Home at the Ref- 
ormation, afid by tJie condition of the Continent of Europe in domes- 
tic and social Ufe. — European nations suffered under the coexistence 
of a dual government^ a spiritual and a temporal. — They were im- 
mersed in ignorance, superstitiony discomfort. — Explanation of the 
failure of Catholicism. — Political history of the papacy: it was 
transmuted from a spiritual confederacy into an absolute monarchy, 
•—Action of the College of Cardinals and the Curia. — Demoratiza* 
Hon that ensued from the necessity of raising large revenues. 

The advantages accruing to Europe during the Catholic rule arose not from 
direct intention^ but were incidental. 

The general result is, that the political influence of Catholicism was preju- 
dicial to modem civilization p. 245 





Illustration of the general influences of Science from the history of America, 

The iNTRODUcnoN of Science into Europe. — It passed from Moorish Spain 
to Upper Italy ^ and was favored by the absence of the popes at Avignon, 
'^The effects of printing y of maritime adventure^ and of the Reform 
mation. — Establishment of the Italian scientific societies. 

The Intellectual Influence of Science.— i2 changed the mode and the 
direction of thought in Europe, — The transactions of the Royal So^ 
ciety of London^ and other scientific societies^ furnish an illustration 
of ihis. 

The Economical Influence of Science is illustrated by the numerous me- 
dumical and physical inventions, made since the fourteenth century. — 
Their influence on health and domestic life, on the arts of peace and 

Answer to the question, Whal has Science done for humanity? page 286 



Indications of the approach of a religious crisis. — The predominating 
Christian Church, the Homan, perceives this, and makes preparation 
for it, — Pitts IX, convokes an (Ecumenical CotmeU, — Relations of the 
different European governments to the papacy. — Relations of the 
Church to Science, as indicated by the Encyclical Letter and the Syl- 

Acts of the Vatican Council in relation to the infallibility of the pope, and 
to Science. — Abstract of decisions arrived at. 

Controversy between the Prussian Government and the papacy. — It is a con- 
test between the State and the Church for supremacy. — Effect of dual 
government in Europe, — Declaration by ihe Vatican Council of its 
position as to Science. — Th£ dogmatic constitution of the Catholic faith, 
-—Its definitions respecting God, Revelation, Faith, Reason. — Th^e 
anathemas it pronounces. — lis denunciation of modem civilization. 

The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and its acts. 

General review of the foregoing definitions and acts, — Present condition of 
the controversy, and its ftUure prospects ... p. 327 






Btliffiotu condition of the Greeks in the fourt^ century before Christ,-^ 
Their invasion of the Persian Empire brings them in contact with 
new aspects of Nature^ and familiarizes them with new religious sys- 
tems, — Hie military^ engineering^ and scientific activity^ stimulated by 
the Macedonian campaigns^ leads to the establishment in Alexandria 
of an institute^ the Museum, for the cultivation of knowledge by ex- 
perimenty observation, and mathematical discussion, — 3 is the origin 
of Science, 

No spectacle can be presented to the thoughtful 
mind more solemn, more mournful, than that of the 
dying of an ancient religion, which in its day has given 
consolation to many generations of men. 

Four centuries before the birth of Christ, Greece 
was fast outgrowing her ancient faith. Her philoso- 
phers, in their studies of the world, had been pro- 
foundly impressed with the contrast between the ma- 
jesty of the operations of Nature and the worthlessness 
of the divinities of Olympus. Her historians, consid- 
ering the orderly course of political affairs, the manifest 


uniformity in the acts of men, and that there was no 
event occurring before their eyes for which they could 
not find an obvious cause in some preceding event, 
began to suspect that the miracles and celestial inter- 
ventions, with which the old annals were filled, were 
only fictions. They demanded, when the age of the 
supernatural had ceased, why oracles had become mute, 
and why there were now no more prodigies in the 

Traditions, descending from immemorial antiquity, 
and formerly accepted by pious men as unquestionable 
truths, had filled the islands of the Mediterranean and 
the conterminous countries with supernatural wonders — 
enchantresses, sorcerers, giants, ogres, harpies, gorgons, 
centaurs, cyclops. The azure vault was the floor of 
heaven ; there 2feus, surrounded by the gods with their 
wives and mistressfes, held his court, engaged in pur- 
suits like those of men, and not refraining from acts of 
human passion and crime. 

A sea-coast broken by numerous indentations, an 
archipelago with some of the most lovely islands in the 
world, inspired the Greeks with a taste for maritime 
life, for geographical discovery, and colonization. Their 
ships wandered all over the Black and Mediterranean 
Seas. The time-honored wonders that had been glori- 
fied in the " Odyssey," and sacred in public faith, were 
found to have no existence. As a better knowledge of 
Nature was obtained, the sky was shown to be an illu- 
sion ; it was discovered that there is no Olympus, noth- 
ing above but space and stars. "With the vanishing of 
their habitation, the gods disappeared, both those of the 
Ionian type of Homer and those of the Doric of Hesiod. 

But this did not take place without resistance. At 
first, the public, and particularly its religious portion, de- 


nounced the rising doubts as atheism. They despoiled 
' some of the offenders of their goods, exiled others ; 
some they put to death. They asserted that what had 
been believed by pious men in the old times, and had 
stood the test of ages, must necessarily be true. Then, 
as the opposing evidence became irresistible, they were 
content to admit that these marvels were allegories 
under which the wisdom of the ancients had concealed 
many sacred and mysterious things. They tried to rec- 
oncile, what now in their misgivings they feared might 
be myths, with their advancing intellectual state. But 
their efforts were in vain, for there are predestined 
phases through which on such an occasion public opin- 
ion must pass. "What it has received with veneration it 
begins to doubt, then it offers new interpretations, then 
subsides into dissent, and ends with a rejection of the 
whole as a mere fable. 

In their secession the philosophers and historians 
were followed by the poets. Euripides incurred the 
odium of heresy, ^schylus narrowly escaped being 
stoned to death for blasphemy. But the frantic efforts 
of those who are interested in supporting delusions 
must always end in defeat. The demoralization resist- 
lessly extended through every branch of literature, until 
at length it reached the 'common people. 

Greek philosophical criticism had lent its aid to 
Greek philosophical discovery in this destruction of the 
national faith. It sustained by many arguments the 
wide-spreading unbelief. It compared the doctrines of 
the different schools with each other, and showed from 
their contradictions that man has no criterion of truth ; 
that, since his ideas of what is good and what is evil 
differ according to the country in which he lives, they 
can have no foundation in Nature, but must be alto- 


gether the result of education ; tliat right and wrong 
are nothing more than fictions created by society for its 
own purposes. In Athens, some of 'the more advanced 
classes had reached such a pass that they not only denied 
the unseen, the supernatural, they even aflSrmed that the 
world is only a day-dream, a phantasm, and that nothing 
at all exists. 

The topographical configuration of Greece gave an 
impress to her political condition. It divided her people 
into distinct commimities having conflicting interests, 
and made them incapable of centralization. Incessant 
domestic wars between the rival states checked her ad- 
vancement. She was poor, her leading men had be- 
come corrupt. They were ever ready to barter patriotic 
considerations for foreign gold, to sell themselves for 
Persian bribes. Possessing a perception of the beauti- 
ful as manife^ed in sculpture and architecture to a 
degree never attained elsewhere either before or since, 
Greece had lost a practical appreciation of the Good 
and the True. 

"While European Greece, full of ideas of liberty and 
independence, rejected the sovereignty of Persia, Asiatic 
Greece acknowledged it without reluctance. At that 
time the Persian Empire in territorial extent was equal 
to half of modem Europe. It touched the. waters of 
the Mediterranean, the ^gean, the Black, the Caspian, 
the Indian, the Persian, the Ked Seas. Through its 
territories there flowed six of the grandest rivers in the 
world — ^the Euphrates, the Tigris, the Indus, the Jax- 
artes, the Oxus, the Nile, each more than a thousand 
miles in length. Its surface reached from thirteen hun- 
dred feet below the sea-level to twenty thousand feet 
above. It yielded, therefore, every agricultural prod- 
act. Its mineral wealth was boundless. It inherited the 


prestige of the Median, the Babylonian, the Assyrian, 
the Chaldean Empires, whose annals reached back 
through more than twenty centuries. 

Persia had always looked upon European Greece 
as politically insignificant, for it had scarcely half the 
territorial extent of one of her satrapies. Her expedi- 
tions for compelling its obedience had, however, taught 
her the military qualities of its people. In her forces 
were incorporated Greek mercenaries, esteemed the very 
best of her troops. She did not hesitate sometimes to 
give the command of her armies to Greek generals, of 
her fleets to Greek captains. In the political convul- 
sions through which she had passed, Greek soldiers had 
often been used by her contending chiefs. These mili- 
tary operations were attended by a momentous result. 
They revealed, to the quick eye of these warlike mer- 
cenaries, the political weakness of the empire and the 
possibility of reaching its centre. After the death of 
Cyrus on the battle-field of Cunaxa, it was demonstrated, 
by the immortal retreat of the ten thousand under 
Xenophon, that a Greek army could force its way to 
and from the heart of Persia. 

That reverence for the military abilities of Asiatic 
generals, so profoundly impressed on the Greeks by 
such engineering exploits as the bridging of the Helles- 
pont, and the cutting of the isthmus at Mount Athos by 
Xerxes, had been obliterated at Salamis, Platea, Mycale. 
To plunder rich Persian provinces had become an ir- 
resistible temptation. Such was the expedition of Ages- 
ilaus, the Spartan king, whose brilliant successes were, 
however, checked by the Persian government resorting 
to its time-proved policy of bribing the neighbors of 
Sparta to attack her. "I have been conquered by 
thirty thousand Persian archers," bitterly exclaimed 


Agesilaus, as he reembarked, aUuding to the Persian 
coin, the Dane, which was stamped with the image of 
an archer. 

At length Philip, the King of Macedon, projected a 
renewal of these attempts, imder a far more formidable 
organization, and with a grander object. He managed 
to have himself appointed captain-general of all Greece, 
not for the pm^pose of a mere foray into the Asiatic 
satrapies, but for the overthrow of the Persian dynasty 
in the very centre of its power. Assassinated while his 
preparations were incomplete, he was succeeded by his 
son Alexander, then a youth. A general assembly of 
Greeks at Corinth had imanimously elected him in his 
father's stead. There were some disturbances in H- 
lyria ; Alexander had to march his army as far north as 
the Danube to quell them. During his absence the 
Thebans with some others conspired against him. On 
his return he took 'Thebes by assault. He massacred 
six thousand of its inhabitants, sold thirty thousand for 
slaves, and utterly demolished the city. The military 
wisdom of this severity was apparent in his Asiatic cam- 
paign. He was not troubled by any revolt in his rear. 

In the spring b. c. 334: Alexander crossed the Hel- 
lespont into Asia. His army consisted of thirty-four 
thousand foot and four thousand horse. He had with 
him only seventy talents in money. He marched di- 
rectly on the Persian army, which, vastly exceeding him 
in strength, was holding the line of the Granicus. He 
forced the passage of the river, routed the enemy, and 
the possession of all Asia Minor, with its treasures, was 
the fruit of the victory. The remainder of that year 
he spent in the military organization of the conquered 
provinces. Meantime Darius, the I^ersian king, had 


advanced an army of six hundred thousand men to pre- 
vent the passage of the Macedonians into Syria. In a 
battle that ensued among the mountain-defiles at Issus, 
the Persians were again overthrown. So great was the 
slaughter that Alexander, and Ptoleniy, one of his gen- 
erals, crossed over a ravine choked with dead bodies. 
It was estimated that the Persian loss was not less than 
ninety thousand foot and ten thousand horse. The 
royal pavilion fell into the conqueror's hands, and with 
it the wife and several of the children of Darius. Syria 
was thus added to the Greek conquests. In Damascus 
were found many of the concubines of Darius and his 
chief officers, together with a vast treasure. 

Before venturing into the plains of Mesopotamia 
for the final struggle, Alexander, to secure his rear and 
preserve his communications with the «ea, marched 
southward down the Mediterranean coast, reducing the 
cities in his way. In his speech before the coimcil of 
war after Issus, he told his generals that they must not 
pursue Darius with Tyre unsubdued, and Persia in pos- 
session of Egypt and Cyprus, for, if Persia should regain 
her seaports, she would transfer the war into Greece, 
and that it was absolutely necessary for him to be sov- 
ereign at sea. With Cyprus and Egypt in his posses- 
sion he felt no solicitude about Greece. The siege of 
Tyre cost him more than half a year. In revenge 
for this delay, he crucified, it is said, two thousand of 
his prisoners. Jerusalem voluntarily surrendered, and 
therefore was treated leniently : but the passage of the 
Macedonian army into Egypt being obstructed at Gaza, 
the Persian governor of which, Betis, made a most ob- 
stinate defense, that place, after a siege of two months, 
was carried by assaidt, ten thousand of its men were 
massacred, and the rest, with their wives and children, 


sold into slavery. Betis himself was dragged alive 
round the city at the chariot-wheels of the conqueror. 
There was now no further obstacle. The Egyptians, 
who detested the Persian rule, received their invader 
with open arms. He organized the country in his own 
interest, intrusting all its military commands to Mace- 
donian oflScers, and leaving the civil government in the 
hands of native Egyptians. 

"While preparations for the final campaign were 
being made, he undertook a journey to the temple of 
Jupiter Ammon, which was situated in an oasis of the 
Libyan Desert, at a distance of two hundred miles. The 
oracle declared him to be a son of that god who, under 
the form of a serpent, had beguiled Olympias, his 
mother. Immaculate conceptions and celestial descents 
were so currently received in those days, that whoever 
had greatly distinguished himself in the affairs of men 
was thought to be of supernatural lineage. Even in 
Eome, centuries later, no one could with safety have 
denied that the city owed its founder, Komulus, to an 
accidental meeting of the god Mars with the virgin 
Khea Sylvia, as she went with her pitcher for water to 
the spring. The Egyptian disciples of Plato would 
have looked with anger on those who rejected the 
legend that Perictione, the mother of that great phi- 
losopher, a pure virgin, had suffered an immaculate 
conception through the influences of Apollo, and that 
the god had declared to Ariston, to whom she was be- 
trothed, the parentage of the child. When Alexander 
issued his letters, orders, and decrees, styling himself 
" King Alexander, the son of Jupiter Ammon," they 
came to the inhabitants of Egypt and Syria with an 
authority that now can hardly be realized. The free- 
thmking Greeks, however, put on such a supernatural 


pedigree its proper value. Olympias, who, of course, 
better than all others knew the facts of the case, used 
jestingly to say, that "she wished Alexander would 
cease from incessantly embroiling her with Jupiter's 
wife." Arrian, the historian of the Macedonian expe- 
dition, observes, " I cannot condemn him for endeavor- 
ing to draw his subjects into the belief of his divine 
origin, nor can I be induced to think it any great crime, 
for it is very reasonable to imagine that he intended no 
more by it than merely to procure the greater authority 
among his soldiers." 

All things being thus secured in his rear, Alexander, 
having returned into Syria, directed the march of his 
army, now consisting of fifty thousand veterans, east- 
ward. After crossing the Euphrates, he kept close to 
the Masian hills, to avoid the intense heat of the more 
southerly Mesopotamian plains ; more abundant forage 
could also thus be procured for the cavalry. On the 
left bank of the Tigris, near Arbela, he encountered 
the great army of eleven hundred thousand men brought 
up by Darius from Babylon. The death of the Persian 
monarch, which soon followed the defeat he suffered, 
left the Macedonian general master of all the countries 
from the Danube to the Indus. Eventually he extended 
his conquest to the Ganges. The treasures he seized 
are almost beyond belief. At Susa alone he found — so 
Arrian says — ^fifty thousand talents in money. 

The modem military student cannot look upon these 
wonderful campaigns without admiration. The passage 
of the Hellespont; the forcing of the Granicus; the 
winter spent in a political organization of conquered Asia 
Minor ; the march of the right wing and centre of the 
army along the Syrian Mediterranean coast ; the engi- 
neering difficulties overcome at the siege of Tyre ; the 


Btorming of Gaza ; the isolation of iPersia from Greece ; 
the absolute exclusion of her navy from the Mediter- 
ranean ; the check on all her attempts at intriguing with 
or bribing Athenians or Spartans, heretofore so often 
resorted to with success; the submission of Egypt; 
another winter spent in the political organization of 
that yenerable country ; the convergence of the whole 
army from the Black and Ked Seas toward the nitre- 
covered plains of Mesopotamia in the ensuing spring; 
the passage of the Euphrates fringed with its weeping- 
willows at the broken bridge of Thapsacus ; the crossing 
of the Tigris ; the nocturnal reconnaissance before the 
great and memorable battle of Arbela; the oblique 
movement on the field; the piercing of the enemy's 
centre — a manoeuvre destined to be repeated many cen- 
turies subsequently at Austerlitz ; the energetic pursuit 
of the Persian monarch; these are exploits not sur- 
passed by any soldier of later times. 

A prodigious stimulus was thus given to Greek in- 
tellectual activity. There were men who had marched 
with the Macedonian army from the Danube to the 
Nile, from the Nile to the Ganges. They had felt 
the hyperborean blasts of the countries beyond the 
Black Sea, the simooms and sand-tempests of the Egyp- 
tian deserts. They had seen the Pyramids which had 
already stood for twenty centuries, the hieroglyph- 
covered obelisks of Luxor, avenues of silent and mys- 
terious sphinxes, colossi of monarchs who reigned in 
the morning of the world. In the halls of Esar-haddon 
they had stood before the thrones of grim old Assyrian 
kings, guarded by winged bulls. In Babylon there still 
remained its walls, once more than sixty miles in com- 
pass, and, after the ravages of three centuries and three 
conquerors, still more than eighty feet in height ; there 


were still the ruins of the temple of cloud-encompassed 
Bel, on its top was planted the observatory wherein the 
weird Chaldean astronomers had held nocturnal com- 
munion with the stars ; still there were vestiges of the 
two palaces with their hangrog gardens in which were 
great trees growing in mid-air, and the wreck of the 
hydraulic machinery that had supplied them with water 
from the river. Into the artificial lake with its vast 
apparatus of aqueducts and sluices the melted snows of 
the Armenian mountains found their way, and were 
confined in their course through the city by the em- 
bankments of the Euphrates. Most wonderful of all, 
perhaps, was the tunnel under the river-bed. 

If Chaldea, Assyria, Babylon, presented stupendous 
and venerable antiquities reaching far back into the 
Light of time, Persia was not without her wonders of a 
later date. The pillared halls of Persepolis were filled 
with miracles of art — carvings, sculptures, enamels, 
alabaster libraries, obelisks, sphinxes, colossal bulls. 
Ecbatana, the cool summer retreat of the Persian kings, 
was defended by seven encircling walls of hewn and 
polished blocks, the interior ones in succession of in- 
creasing height, and of diflEerent colors, in astrological 
accordance with the seven planets. The palace was 
roofed with silver tiles, its beams were plated with gold. 
At midnight, in its halls the sunlight was rivaled by 
many a row of naphtha cressets. A paradise — ^that lux- 
ury of the monarchs of the East — was planted in the 
midst of the city. The Persian Empire, from the Hel- 
lespont to the Indus, was truly the garden of the world. 

I have devoted a few pages to the story of these 
marvelous campaigns, for the military talent they fos- 
tered led to the establishment of the mathematical and 


practical schools of Alexandria, the true origin of sci 
ence. "We trace back all our exact knowledge to the 
Macedonian campaigns. Humboldt has well observed, 
that an introduction to new and grand objects of Na- 
ture enlarges the human mind. The soldiers of Alex- 
ander and the hosts of his camp-followers encoimtered 
at every march unexpected and picturesque scenery. 
Of all men, the Greeks were the most observant, the 
most readily and profoundly impressed. Here there 
were interminable sandy plains, there mountains whose 
peaks were lost above the clouds. In the deserts were 
mirages, on the hill -sides shadows of fleeting clouds 
sweeping over the forests. They were in a land of 
amber-colored date-palms and cypresses, of tamarisks, 
green myrtles, and oleanders. At Arbela they had 
fought against Indian elephants; in the thickets of 
the Caspian they had roused from his lair the lurking 
royal tiger. They had seen animals which, compared 
with those of Europe, were not only strange, but co- 
lossal — the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the camel, 
the crocodiles of the Nile and the Ganges. They had 
encountered men of many complexions and many cos- 
tumes : the swarthy Syrian, the olive-colored Persian, 
the black African. Even of Alexander himseK it is re- 
lated that on his death-bed he caused his admiral, Near- 
chus, to sit by his side, and found consolation in listen- 
ing to the adventures of that sailor — ^the story of his 
voyage from the Indus up the Persian Gulf. The con- 
queror had seen with astonishment the ebbing and flow- 
ing of the tides. He had built ships for the exploration 
of the Caspian, supposing that it and the Black Sea 
might be gulfs of a great ocean, such as Nearchus had 
discovered the Persian and Eed Seas to be. He had 
formed a resolution that his fleet should attempt the 


circumnavigation of Africa, and come into the Mediter- 
ranean througli the Pillars of Hercules — a feat which, it 
was aflSrmed, had once been accomplished by the Pha- 
raohs. ' 

Not only her greatest soldiers, but also her greatest 
philosophers, found in the conquered empire much that 
might excite the admiration of Greece, Callisthenes 
obtained in Babylon a series of Chaldean astronomical 
observations ranging back through 1,903 years; these 
he sent to Aristotle. Perhaps, since they were on burnt 
bricks, duplicates of them may be recovered by modem 
research in the clay libraries of the Assyrian kings. 
Ptolemy, the Egyptian astronomer, possessed a Babylo- 
nian record of eclipses, going back 747 years before our 
era. Long-continued and close observations were neces- 
sary, before some of these astronomical results that have 
reached our times could have been ascertained. Thus 
the Babylonians had fixed the length of a tropical year 
within twenty-five seconds of the truth ; their estimate of 
the sidereal year was barely two minutes in excess. They 
had detected the precession of the equinoxes. They 
knew the causes of eclipses, and, by the aid of their cycle 
called Saros, could predict them. Their estimate of the 
value of that cycle, which is more than 6,585 days, was 
within nineteen and a half minutes of the truth. 

Such facts furnish incontrovertible proof of the pa- 
tience and skill with which astronomy had been culti- 
vated in Mesopotamia, and that, with very inadequate 
instrumental means, it had reached no inconsiderable 
perfection. These old observers had made a catalogue 
of the stars, had divided the zodiac into twelve signs ; 
they had parted the day into twelve hours, the night 
into twelve. They had, as Aristotle says, for a long 
time devoted themselves to observations of star-occulta- 


tions by the moon. They had correct views of the 
structure of the solar system, and knew the order of 
emplacement of the planets. They constructed sun- 
'dials, clepsydras, astrolabes, gnomons. 

Not without interest do we still look on specimens 
of their method of printing. Upon a revolving roller 
they engraved, in cuneiform letters, their records, and, 
running this over plastic clay formed into blocks, pro- 
duced ineffaceable proofs. From their tile -libraries 
we are still to reap a literary and historical harvest. 
They were not without some knowledge of optics. The 
convex lens found at Nimroud shows that they were 
not unacquainted with magnifying instruments. In 
arithmetic they had detected the value of position in 
the digits, though they missed the grand Indian inven- 
tion of the cipher. 

What a spectacle for the conquering Greeks, who, 
up to this time, had neither experimented nor observed I 
They had contented themselves with mere meditation 
and useless speculation. 

But Greek intellectual development, due thus in 
part to a more extended view of Nature, was powerful- 
ly aided by the knowledge then acquired of the religion 
of the conquered country. The idolatry of Greece had 
always been a horror to Persia, who, in her invasions, 
had never failed to destroy the temples and insult the 
fanes of the bestial gods. The impimity with which 
these sacrileges had been perpetrated had made a pro- 
f oujid impression, and did no little to undermine Hel- 
lenic faith. But now the worshiper of the vile Olym- 
pian divinities, whose obscene lives must have been 
shocking to every pious man, was brought in contact 
with a grand, a solemn, a consistent religious system, 
having its foundation on a philosophical basis. Persia, 


as is the case with all empires of long duration, had 
passed through many changes of religion. She had fol- 
lowed the Monotheism of Zoroaster ; had then accepted 
Dualism, and exchanged that for Magianism. At the 
time of the Macedonian expedition, she recognized one 
universal Intelligence, the Creator, Preserver, and Gov- 
ernor of all things, the most holy essence of truth, the 
giver of all good. He was not to be represented by 
any image, or any graven form. And, since, in every 
thing here below, we see the resultant of two opposing 
forces, under him were two coequal and coetemal prin- 
ciples, represented by the imagery of Light and Dark- 
ness. These principles are in never-ending conflict. 
The world is their battle-ground, man is their prize. 

In the old legends of Dualism, the Evil Spirit was 
said to have sent a serpent to ruin the paradise which 
the Good Spirit had made. These legends became 
known to the Jews during their Babylonian captivity. 

The existence of a principle of evil is the necessary 
incident of the existence of a principle of good, as a 
shadow is the necessary incident of the presence of 
light. In this majmer could be explained the occur- 
rence of evil in a world, the maker and ruler of which 
is supremely good. Each of the personified principles 
of light and darkness, Ormuzd and Ahriman, had his 
subordinate angels, his counselors, his armies. It is 
the duty of a good man to cultivate truth, purity, and 
industry. He may look forward, when this life is over, 
to a life in another world, and trust to a resurrection of 
the body, the immortality of the soul, and a conscious 
future existence. 

In the later years of the empire, the principles of 
Magianism had gradually prevailed more and ijiore over 
those of Zoroaster. Magianism was essentially a wor- 


ship of the elements. Of these, fire was considered as 
the most worthy representative of the Supreme Being. 
On altars erected, not in temples, but under the blue 
canopy of the sky, perpetual fires were kept burning, 
and the rising sun was regarded as the noblest object of 
human adoration. In the society of Asia, nothing is 
visible but the monarch ; in the expanse of heaven, all 
objects vanish in presence of the sun. 

Prematurely cut off in the midst of many great pro- 
jects, Alexander died at Babylon before he had com- 
pleted his thirty-third year (b. c. 323). There was a 
suspicion that he had been poisoned. His temper had 
become so unbridled, his passion so ferocious, that his 
generals and even his intimate friends lived in contin- 
ual dread. Clitus, one of the latter, he in a moment of 
fury had stabbed to the heart. Callisthenes, the inter- 
medium between himself and Aristotle, he had caused 
to be hanged, or, as was positively asserted by some, 
who knew the facts, had had him put upon the rack and 
then crucified. It may have been in self-defense that 
the conspirators resolved on his assassination. But 
surely it was a calumny to associate the name of Aris- 
totle with this transaction. He would have rather borne 
the worst that Alexander could inflict, than have joined 
in the perpetration of so great a crime. 

A scene of confusion and bloodshed lasting many 
years ensued, nor did it cease even after the Macedonian 
generals had divided the empire. Among its vicissi- 
tudes one incident mainly claims our attention. Ptole- 
my, who was a son of King Philip by Arsinoe, a beautiful 
concubine, and who in his boyhood had been driven 
into exil^ with Alexander, when they incurred their 
father's displeasure, who had been Alexander's com- 


rade in many of his battles and all his campaigns, be- 
came governor and eventually king of Egypt. 

At the siege of Ehodes, Ptolemy had been of such 
signal service to its citizens that in gratitude they paid 
divine honors to him, and saluted him with the title of 
Soter (the Savior). By that designation — Ptolemy 
Soter — ^he is distinguished from succeeding kings of the 
Macedonian dynasty in Egypt. 

He established his seat of government not in any of 
the old capitals of the country, but in Alexandria. At 
the time of the expedition to the temple of Jupiter 
Ammon, the Macedonian conqueror had caused the 
foundations of that city to be laid, foreseeing that it 
might be made the commercial entrepot between Asia 
and Europe. It is to be particularly remarked that not 
only did Alexander himself deport many Jews from 
Palestine to people the city, and not only did Ptolemy 
Soter bring one hundred thousand more after his siege 
of Jerusalem, but Philadelphus, his successor, redeemed 
from slavery one hundred and ninety-eight thousand 
of that people, paying their Egyptian owners a just 
money equivalent for each. To all these Jews the 
same privileges were accorded as to the Macedonians. 
In consequence of this considerate treatment, vast num- 
bers of their compatriots and many Syrians voluntarily 
came into Egypt. To them the designation of HeUe- 
nistical Jews was given. In like manner, tempted by 
the benign government of Soter, multitudes of Greeks 
sought refuge in the country, and the invasions of 
Perdiccas and Antigonus showed that Greek soldiers 
would desert from other Macedonian generals to join 
his armies. 

The population of Alexandria was therefore of three 
distinct nationalities : 1. Kative Egyptians ; 2. Greeks ; 


3. Jews — a fact that has left an impress on the reL'gious 
faith of modem Europe. 

Greek architects and Greek engineers had made 
Alexandria the most beautiful city of the ancient world. 
They had filled it with magnificent palaces, temples, 
theatres. In its centre, at Uie intersection of its two 
grand avenues, which crossed each other at right angles, 
and in the midst of gardens, fountains, obelisks, stood 
the mausoleum, in which, embalmed after the manner 
of the Egyptians, rested the body of Alexander. In a 
funereal journey of two years it had been brought with 
great pomp from Babylon. At first the coflSai was of 
pure gold, but this having led to a violation of the 
tomb, it was replaced by one of alabaster. But not 
these, not even the great light-house, Pharos, built of 
blocks of white marble and so high that the fire con- 
tinually burning on its top could be seen many miles off 
at sea — the Pharos counted as one of the seven wonders 
of the world — ^it is not these magnificent achievements 
of architecture that arrest our attention ; the true, the 
most glorious monument of the Macedonian kings of 
Egypt is the Museum. Its influences will last when 
even the Pyramids have passed away. 

The Alexandrian Museum was commenced by Ptol- 
emy Soter, and was completed by his son Ptolemy 
Philadelphus. It was situated in the Bruchion, the aris- 
tocratic quarter of the city, adjoining the king's palace. 
Built of marble, it was surrounded with a piazza, in 
which the residents might walk and converse together. 
Its sculptured apartments contained the Philadelphian 
library, and were crowded with the choicest statues and 
pictures. This library eventually comprised four hun- 
dred thousand volumes. In the course of time, probably 
on accoimt of inadequate accommodation for so many 


books, an additional library was established in the adja- 
cent quarter Khacotis, and placed in the Serapion or 
temple of Serapis. The number of volumes in this 
library, which was called the Daughter of that in the 
Museum, was eventually three hundred thousand. There 
were, therefore, seven hundred thousand volumes in 
these royal collections. 

Alexandria was not merely the capital of Egypt, it 
was the intellectual metropolis of the world. Here it 
was truly said the Genius of the East met the Genius 
of the "West, and this Paris of antiquity became a focus 
of fashionable dissipation and universal skepticism. In 
the allurements of its bewitching society even the Jews 
forgot their patriotism. They abandoned the language 
of their forefathers, and adopted Greek. 

In the establishment of the Musexmi, Ptolemy Soter 
and his son Philadelphus had three objects in view : 1. 
The perpetuation of such knowledge as was then in 
the world; 2. Its increase; 3. Its diffusion. 

1. For the perpetuation of knowledge. Orders were 
given to the chief librarian to buy at the king's expense 
whatever books he could. A body of transcribers was 
maintained in the Museum, whose duty it was to make 
correct copies of such works as their owners were not 
disposed to sell. Any books brought by foreigners into 
Egypt were taken at once to the Museum, and, when 
correct copies had been made, the transcript was given 
to the owner, and the original placed in the library. 
Often a very large pecuniary indemnity was paid. Thus 
it is said of Ptolemy Euergetes that, having obtained 
from Athens the works of Euripides, Sophocles, and 
JEschylus, he sent to their owners transcripts, together 
with about fifteen thousand dollars, as an indemnity. 
On his return from the Syrian expedition he carried 


back in triumpli all the Egyptian monuments from Eo- 
batana and Susa, which Cambyses and other invaders 
had removed from Egypt. These he replaced in their 
original seats, or added as adornments to his museums. 
When works were translated as well as transcribed, 
sums which we should consider as almost incredible 
were paid, as was the case with the Septuagint transla- 
tion of the Bible, ordered by Ptolemy Philadelphus. 

2. For the increase of knowledge. One of the chief 
objects of the Museum was that of serving as the home 
of a body of men who devoted themselves to study, and 
were lodged and maintained at the king's expense. Oc- 
casionally he himself sat at their table. Anecdotes con- 
nected with those festive occasions have descended to 
our times. In the original organization of the Museum 
the residents were divided into four faculties-^litera- 
ture, mathematics, astronomy, medicine. Minor branches 
were appropriately classified under one of these general 
heads; thus natural history was considered to be a 
branch of medicine. An officer of very great distinc- 
tion presided over the establishment, and had general 
charge of its interests. Demetrius Phalareus, perhaps 
the most learned man of his age, who had been gov- 
ernor of Athens for many years, was the first so ap- 
pointed. Under him was the librarian, an office some- 
times held by men whose names have descended to our 
times, as Eratosthenes, and Apollonius Khodius. 

In connection with the Museum were a botanical and 
a zoological garden. These gardens, as their names im- 
port, were for the purpose of facilitating the study of 
plants and animals. There was also an astronomical 
observatory containing armillary spheres, globes, solsti- 
tial and equatorial armils, astrolabes, parallactic rules, 
and other apparatus then in use, the graduation on the 


divided instruments being into degrees and sixths. On 
the floor of this observatory a meridian line was drawn. 
The want of correct means of measm*ing time and tem- 
perature was severely felt; the clepsydra of Ctesibius 
answered very imperfectly for the former, the hydrom- 
eter floating in a cup of water for the latter ; it meas- 
ured variations of temperature by variations of density. 
Philadelphus, who toward the close of his life was 
haunted with an intolerable dread of death, devoted 
much of his time to the discovery of an elixir. For 
such pursuits the Museum was provided with a chemical 
laboratory. In spite of the prejudices of the age, and 
especially in spite of Egyptian prejudices, there was in 
connection with the medical department an anatomical 
room for the dissection, not only of the dead, but actually 
of the living, who for crimes had been condemned. 

3. For the diffusion of knowledge. In the Museum 
was given, by lectures, conversation, or other appropriate 
methods, instruction in all the various departments of 
human knowledge. There flocked to this great intel- 
lectual centre, students from all countries. It is said 
that at one time not fewer than fourteen thousand were 
in attendance. Subsequently even the Christian church 
received from it some of the most eminent of its Fathers, 
as Clemens Alexandrinus, Origen, Athanasius. 

The library in the Museum was burnt during the 
siege of Alexandria by Julius Csesar. To make amends 
for this great loss, that collected by Eumenes, King of 
Pergamus, was presented by Mark Antony to Queen 
Cleopatra. Originally it was founded as a rival to that 
of the Ptolemies. It was added to the collection in the 

It remains now to describe briefly the philosophical 


basis of the Museum, and some of its contributions to 
the stock of human Imowledge. 

In memory of the illustrious founder of this most 
noble institution— an institution which antiquity de- 
lighted to call " The divine school of Alexandria " — ^we 
must mention in the first rank his "History of the 
Campaigns of Alexander." Great as a soldier and as a 
sovereign, Ptolemy Soter added to his glory by being 
an author. Time, which has not been able to destroy 
the memory of our obligations fo him, has dealt unjustly 
by his work. It is not now extant. 

As might be expected from the friendship that ex- 
isted between Alexander, Ptolemy, and Aristotle, the 
Aristotelian philosophy was the intellectual comer-stone 
on which the Museum rested. King Philip had com- 
mitted the education of Alexander to Aristotle, and 
during the Persian campaigns the conqueror contributed 
materially, not only in money, but otherwise, toward 
the " Natural History " then in preparation. 

The essential principle of the Aristotelian philosophy 
was, to rise from the study of particulars to a knowledge 
of general principles or universals, advancing to them 
by induction. The induction is the more certain as the 
facts on which it is based are more numerous ; its cor- 
rectness is established if it should enable us to predict 
other facts until then unknown. This system implies 
endless toil in the collection of facts, both by experi- 
ment and observation ; it implies also a close meditation 
on them. It is, therefore, essentially a method of labor 
and of reason, not a method of imagination. The fail- 
ures that Aristotle himself so often exhibits are no 
proof of its unreliability, but rather of its trustworthi- 
ness. They are failures arising from want of a suffi- 
ciency of facts. 


Some of the general results at which Aristotle ar- 
rived are very grand. Thus, he concluded that every 
thing is ready to burst into life, and that the various 
organic forms presented to us by Nature are those 
which existing conditions permit. Should the condi- 
tions change, the forms will also change. Hence there 
is an unbroken chain from the simple element through 
plants and animals up to man, the different groups 
merging by insensible shades into each other. 

The inductive philosophy thus established by Aris- 
totle is a method of great power. To it all the modem 
advances in science are due. In its most improved 
form it rises by inductions from phenomena to their 
causes, and then, imitating the method of the Academy, 
it descends by deductions from those causes to the 
detail of phenomena. 

While thus the Scientific School of Alexandria was 
founded on the maxims of one great Athenian philoso- 
pher, the Ethical School was founded on the maxims of 
another, for Zeno, though a Cypriote or Phoenician, had 
for many years been established at Athens. His disci- 
ples took the name of Stoics. His doctrines long sur- 
vived him, and, in times when there was no other con- 
solation for man, offered a support in the hour of trial, 
and an unwavering guide in the vicissitudes of life, not 
only to illustrious Greeks, but also to many of the great 
philosophers, statesmen, generals, and emperors of Eome. 

The aim of Zeno was, to furnish a guide for the daily 
pi*actice of life, to make men virtuous. He insisted 
that education is the true foundation of virtue, for, if 
we know what is good, we shall incline to do it. We 
must trust to sense, to furnish the data of knowledge, 
and reason will suitably combine them. In this the 
aflSnity of Zeno to Aristotle is plainly seen. Every ap- 


petite, lust, desire, springs from imperfect knowledge. 
Our nature is imposed upon us by Fate, but we must 
learn to control our passions, and live free, intelligent, 
virtuous, in all things in accordance with reason. Our 
existence should be intellectual, we should survey with 
equanimity all pleasures and all pains. We should . 
never forget that we are freemen, not the slaves of 
society. " I possess,'^ said the Stoic, " a treasure which 
not all the world can rob me of — ^no one can deprive 
me of death." We should remember that Nature in 
her operations aims at the universal, and never spares 
individuals, but uses them as means for the accomplish- 
ment of her ends. It is, therefore, for us to submit to 
Destiny, cultivating, as the things necessary to virtue, 
knowledge, temperance, fortitude, justice. "We must 
remember that every thing around us is in mutation ; 
decay follows reproduction, and reproduction decay, and 
that it is useless to repine at death in a world where 
every thing is dying. As a cataract shows from year 
to year an invariable shape, though the water composing 
it is perpetually changing, so the aspect of Nature is 
nothing more than a flow of matter presenting an im- 
permanent form. The universe, considered as a whole, 
is unchangeable. Nothing is eternal but space, atoms, 
force. The forms of Nature that we see are essentially 
transitory, they must all pass away. 

We must bear in mind that the majority of men are 
imperfectly educated, and hence we must not needlessly 
offend the religious ideas of our age. It is enough for 
us ourselves to know that, though there is a Supreme 
Power, there is no Supreme Being. There is an in- 
visible principle, but not a personal God, to whom it 
would be not so much blasphemy as absurdity to impute 
the form, the sentiments, the passions of man. All 


revelation is, necessarily, a mere fiction. That wliicli 
men call chance is only the effect of an unknown cause. 
Even of chances there is a law. There is no such thing 
as Providence, for Nature proceeds under irresistible 
laws, and in this respect the universe is only a vast 
automatic engine. The vital force which pervades the 
world is what the illiterate call God. The modifica- 
tions through which all things are running take place 
in an irresistible way, and hence it may be said that the 
progress of the world is, under Destiny, like a seed, it 
can evolve only in a predetermined mode. 

The soul of man is a spark of the vital flame, the 
general vital principle. Like heat, it passes from one 
to another, and is finally reabsorbed or reunited in the 
universal principle from which it came. Hence we 
must not expect annihilation, but reunion ; and, as the 
tired man looks forward to the insensibility of sleep, so 
the philosopher, weary of the world, should look for- 
ward to the tranquillity of extinction. Of these things, 
however, we should think doubtingly, since the mind 
can produce no certain knowledge from its internal re- 
sources alone. It is unphilosophical to inquire into first 
causes ; we must deal only with phenomena. Above all, 
we must never forget that man cannot ascertain absolute 
truth, and that the final result of human inquiry into 
the matter is, that we are incapable of perfect knowl- 
edge ; that, even if the truth be in our possession, we 
cannot be sure of it. 

What, then, remains for us ? Is it not this — ^the ac- 
quisition of knowledge, the cultivation of virtue and of 
friendship, the observance of faith and truth, an imre- 
pining submission to whatever befalls us, a life led in 
accordance with reason ? 


But, thougli the Alexandrian Museum was especially 
intended for the cultivation of the AristoteKan philoso- 
phy, it must not be supposed that other systems were 
excluded. Platonism was not only carried to its'Tull 
development, but in the end it supplanted Peripateti- 
cism, and through the New Academy left a permanent 
impress on Christianity. The philosophical method of 
Plato was the inverse of that of Aristotle. Its start- 
ing-point was universals, the very existence of which 
was a matter of faith, and from these it descended to 
particulars, or details. Aristotle, on the contrary, rose 
from particulars to universals, advancing to them by 

Plato, therefore, trusted to the imagination, Aris- 
totle to reason. The former descended from the de- 
composition of a primitive idea into particulars, the lat- 
ter united particulars into a general conception. Hence 
the method of Plato was capable of quickly producing 
what seemed to be splendid, though in reality unsub- 
stantial results ; that of Aristotle was more tardy in its 
operation, but much more solid. It implied endless 
labor in the collection of facts, a tedious resort to ex- 
periment and observation, the application of demonstra- 
tion. The philosophy of Plato is a gorgeous castle in 
the air ; that of Aristotle a solid structure, laboriously, 
and with many failures, founded on the solid rock. 

An appeal to the imagination is much more alluring 
than the employment of reason. In the intellectual de- 
cline of Alexandria, indolent methods were preferred to 
laborious observation and severe mental exercise. The 
schools of Neo-Platonism were crowded with specula- 
tive mystics, such as Ammonius Saccas and Plotinua 
These took the place of the severe geometers of the old 


The Alexandrian Bchool offers the first example of 
that system which, in the hands of modem physicists, 
has led to such wonderful results. It rejected imagina- 
tion, and made its theories the expression of facts ob- 
tained by experiment and observation, aided by mathe- 
matical discussion. It enforced the principle that the 
true method of studying Nature is by experimental in- 
terrogation. The researches of Archimedes in specific 
gravity, and the works of Ptolemy on optics, resemble 
our present investigations in experimental philosophy, 
and stand in striking contrast with the speculative vaga- 
ries of the older writers. Laplace says that the only 
observation which the history of astronomy offers us, 
made by ihe Greeks before the school of Alexandria, is 
that of the summer solstice of the year b. o. 432, by 
Meton and Euctemon. We have, for the first time, in 
that school, a combined system of observations made 
with instruments for the measurement of angles, and cal- 
culated by trigonometrical methods. Astronomy then 
took a form which subsequent ages could only perfect. 

It does not accord with the compass or the intention 
of this work to give a detailed account of the contribu- 
tions of the Alexandrian Museum to the stock of human 
knowledge. It is sufiScient that the reader should ob- 
tain a general impression of their character. For par- 
ticulars, I may refer him to the sixth chapter of my 
" History of the Intellectual Development of Europe." 

It has just been remarked that the Stoical philoso- 
phy doubted whether the mind can ascertain absolute 
truth. "While Zeno was indulging in such doubts, 
Euclid was preparing his great work, destined to chal- 
lenge contradiction from the whole human race. After 
more than twenty-two centuries it still survives, a model 


of accuracy, perspicuity, and a standard of exact demon- 
stration. This great geometer not only wrote on other 
mathematical topics, such as Conic Sections and Porisms, 
but there are imputed to him treatises on Harmonics 
and Optics, the latter subject being discussed on the 
hypothesis of rays issuing from the eye to the object. 

With the Alexandrian mathematicians and physi- 
cists must be classed Archimedes, though he event- 
ually resided in Sicily. Among his mathematical works 
were two books on the Sphere and Cylinder, in which 
he gave the demonstration that the solid content of a 
sphere is two-thirds that of its circumscribing cylinder. 
So highly did he esteem this, that he directed the dia- 
gram to be engraved on his tombstone. He also treated 
of the quadrature of the circle and of the parabola ; he 
wrote on Conoids and Spheroids, and on the spiral that 
bears his name, the genesis of which was suggested to 
him by his friend Conon the Alexandrian. As a mathe- 
matician, Europe produced no equal to him for nearly 
two thousand years. In physical science he laid the 
foundation of hydrostatics ; invented a method for the 
determination of specific gravities ; discussed the equilib- 
rium of floating bodies ; discovered the true theory of the 
lever, and invented a screw, which still bears his name, 
for raising the water of the Nile. To him also ai-e to 
be attributed the endless screw, and a peculiar form of 
burning-mirror, by which, at the siege of Syracuse, it is 
said that he set the Koman fleet on fire. 

Eratosthenes, who at one time had charge of the 
library, was the author of many important works. 
Among them may be mentioned his determination of 
the interval between the tropics, and an attempt to as- 
certain the size of the earth. He considered the articu- 
lation and expansion of continents, the position of moun- 


tain-chains, the action of clouds, the geological submer- 
sion of lands, the elevation of ancient sea-beds, the open- 
ing of the Dardanelles and the straits of Gibraltar, and 
the relations of the Euxine Sea. He composed a complete 
system of the earth, in three books— physical, mathe- 
matical, historical — accompanied by a map of all the 
parts then known. It is only of late years that the 
fragments remaining of his " Chronicles of the Theban 
Kings " have been justly appreciated. For many cen- 
turies they were thrown into discredit by the authority 
of our existing absurd theological chronology. 

It is unnecessary to adduce the arguments relied 
upon by the Alexandrians to prove the globular form 
of the earth. They had correct ideas respecting the 
doctrine of the sphere, its poles, axis, equator, arctic and 
antarctic circles, equinoctial points, solstices, the distri- 
bution of climates, etc. I cannot do more than mere- 
ly allude to the treatises on Conic Sections and on 
Maxima and Minima by ApoUonius, who is said to have 
been the first to introduce the words ellipse and hyper- 
bola. In like manner I must pass the astronomical 
observations of Aristyllus and Timocharis. It was to 
those of the latter on Spica Virginis that Hipparchus 
was indebted for his great discovery of the precession 
of the equinoxes. Hipparchus also determined the first 
inequality of the moon, the equation of the centre. He 
adopted the theory of epicycles and eccentrics, a geo- 
metrical conception for the purpose of resolving the ap- 
parent motions of the heavenly bodies on the principle 
of circular movement. He also undertook to make a 
catalogue of the stars by the method of alineations — 
that is, by indicating those that are in the same ap- 
parent straight line. The number of stars so catalogued 
was 1,080. If he thus attempted to depict the aspect 


of the sky, he endeavored to do the same for the sui'f ace 
of the earth, by marking the position of towns and 
other places by lines of latitude and longitude. He 
was the first to construct tables of the sun and moon. 

In the midst of such a brilliant constellation of 
geometers, astronomers, physicists, conspicuously shines 
forth Ptolemy, the author of the great work, "Syn- 
taxis,'' "a Treatise on the Mathematical Construction 
of the Heavens." It maintained its ground for nearly 
fifteen hundred years, and indeed was only displaced by 
the immortal " Principia " of Newton. It conmiences 
with the doctrine that the earth is globular and fixed in 
space, it describes the construction of a table of chords, 
and instruments for observing the solstices, it deduces 
the obliquity of the ecliptic, it finds terrestrial latitudes 
by the gnomon, describes climates^ shows how ordinary 
may be converted into sidereal time, gives reasons for 
preferring the tropical to the sidereal year, furnishes 
the solar theory on the principle of the sun's orbit being 
a simple eccentric, explains the equation of time, ad- 
vances to the discussion of the motions of the. moon, 
treats of the first inequality, of her eclipses, and the 
motion of her nodes. It then gives Ptolemy's own 
great discovery — ^that which has made his name immor- 
tal — ^the discovery of the moon's evection or second in- 
equality, reducing it to the epicyclic theory. It attempts 
the determination of the distances of the sun and mc»on 
from the earth — ^with, however, only partial success. It 
considers the precession of tiie equinoxes, the discovery 
of Hipparchus, the full period of which is twenty-five 
thousand years. It gives a catalogue of 1,022 stars, 
treats of the nature of the milky-way, and discusses in 
the most masterly manner the motions of the planets. 
This point constitutes another of Ptolemy's claims to 


Bcientific fame. His determination of the planetary 
orbits was accomplished by comparing his own observa- 
tions with those of former astronomers, among them 
the observations of Timocharis on the planet Venus. 

In the Museum of Alexandria, Ctesibius invented 
the fire-engine. His pupil, Hero, improved it by giving 
it two cylinders. There, too, the first steam-engine 
worked. This also was the invention of Hero, and 
was a reaction engine, on the principle of the eolipile. 
The silence of the halls of Serapis was broken by the 
water-clocks of Ctesibius and Apollonius, which drop by 
drop measured time. When the Roman calendar had 
fallen into such confusion that it had become absolutely 
necessary to rectify it, Julius Caesar brought Sosigenes 
the astronomer from Alexandria. By his advice the 
lunar year was abolished, the civil year regulated en- 
tirely by the sun, and the Julian calendar introduced. 

The Macedonian rulers of Egypt have been blamed 
for the manner in which they dealt with the religious 
sentiment of their time. They prostituted it to the 
purpose of state-craft, finding in it a means of governing 
their lower classes. To the intelligent they gave phi- 

But doubtless they defended this policy by the ex- 
perience gathered in those great campaigns which had 
made the Greeks the foremost nation of the world. 
They had seen the mythological conceptions of their 
ancestral coxmtry dwindle into fables ; the wonders with 
which the old poets adorned the Mediterranean had 
been discovered to be baseless illusions. From Olympus 
its divinities had disappeared ; indeed, Olympus itself 
had proved to be a phantom of the imagination. Hades 
had lost its terrors; no place could be found for it. 


From the woods and grottoes and rivers of Asia Minor 
the local gods and goddesses had departed ; even their dev- 
otees began to doubt whether they had ever been there. 
If still the Syrian damsels lamented, in their amorous 
ditties, the fate of Adonis, it was only as a recollection, 
not as a reality. Again and again had Persia changed 
her national faith. For the revelation of Zoroaster she 
had substituted Dualism ; then under new political in- 
fluences she had adopted Magianism. She had wor- 
shiped fire, and kept her altars burning on mountain- 
tops. She had adored the sun. When Alexander came, 
she was fast falling into pantheism. 

On a country to which in its political extremity the 
indigenous gods have been found unable to give any 
protection, a change of faith is impending. The ven- 
erable divinities of Egypt, to whose glory obelisks had 
been raised and temples dedicated, had again and again 
submitted to the sword of a foreign conqueror. In the 
land of the Pyramids, the Colossi, the Sphinx, the 
images of the gods had ceased to represent living reali- 
ties. They had ceased to be objects of faith. Others of 
more recent birth were needful, and Serapis confronted 
Osiris. In the shops and streets of Alexandria there 
were thousands of Jews who had forgotten the God that 
had made his habitation behind the veil of the temple. 

Tradition, revelation, time, all had lost their influ- 
ence. The traditions of European mythology, the reve 
lations of Asia, the time-consecrated dogmas of Egypt, 
all had passed or were fast passing away. And the 
Ptolemies recognized how ephemeral are forms of faith. 

But the Ptolemies also recognized that there is some- 
thing more durable than forms of faith, which, like the 
organic forms of geological ages, once gone, are clean 
gone forever, and have no restoration, no return. They 


recognized that within this world of transient delusions 
and unrealities there is a world of eternal truth. 

That world is not to be discovered through the vain 
traditions that have brought down to us the opinions of 
men who lived in the morning of civilization, nor in 
the dreams of mystics who thought that they were in- 
spired. It is to be discovered by the investigations of 
geometry, and by the practical interrogation of Nature. 
These confer on humanity solid, and innumerable, and 
inestimable blessings. 

The day will never come when any one of the prop- 
ositions of Euclid will be denied; no one henceforth 
will call in question the globular shape of the earth, as 
recognized by Eratosthenes; the world wiU not permit 
the great physical inventions and discoveries made in 
Alexandria and Syracuse to be forgotten. The names 
of Hipparchus, of Apollonius, of Ptolemy, of Archi- 
medes, will be mentioned with reverence by men of 
every religious profession, as long as there are men to 

The Museum of Alexandria was thus the birthplace 
of modem science. It is true that, long before its es- 
tablishment, astronomical observations had been made 
in China and Mesopotamia ; the mathematics also had 
been cultivated with a certain degree of success in In- 
dia. But in none of these countries had investigation 
assimied a connected and consistent form ; in none was 
physical experimentation resorted to. The character- 
istic feature of Alexandiian, as of modem science, is, 
that it did not restrict itself to observation, but relied 
on a practical interrogation of Nature. ' 



Reliffiow condition of the Roman Republic-^Hu cidoption of imperialism 
leads to monotheism, — Christianity spreads over theJioman Empire.'^ 
The circumstances under which it attained imperial power make its 
union with Paganism a pdUticdt necessity, — TertvUian's description of 
its doctrines and practices, — Debasing effect of the poUcy of Con- 
stantine on it, — Its alliance with the civU power. — Its incompatibility 
with science. — Destruction of the Alexandrian lAbrary and prohibv' 
tion of philosophy,'^JSxposition of the Augustinian philosophy and 
Patristic science generally. — The Scriptures made the standard of 

In a political sense, Christianity is the bequest of 
the Koman Empire to the worid. 

At the epoch of the transition of Rome from the 
republican to the imperial form of government, all the 
independent nationalities around the Mediterranean Sea 
had been brought imder the control of that central 
power. The conquest that had befallen them in succes- 
sion had been by no means a disaster. The perpetual 
wars they had maintained with each other came to an 
end; the miseries their conflicts had engendered were 
exchanged for universal peace. 

Not only as a token of the conquest she had made, 
but also aa a gratification to her pride, the conquering 


republic brought the gods of the vanquished peoples to 
Eome. With disdainful toleration, she permitted the 
worship of them all. That paramount authority exer- 
cised by each divinity in his original seat disappeared 
at once in the crowd of gods and goddesses among 
whom he had been brought. Already, as we have 
seen, through geographical discoveries and philosophi- 
cal criticism, faith in the religion of the old days~ had 
been profoundly shaken. It was, by this policy of 
Eome, brought to an end. 

The kings of aU the conquered provinces had van- 
ished ; in their stead one emperor had come. The gods 
also had disappeared. Considering the connection which 
in aU ages has existed between political and religious 
ideas, it was then not at all strange that polytheism 
should manifest a tendency to pass into monotheism. 
Accordingly, divine honors were paid at first to the 
deceased and at length to the living emperor. 

The facility with which gods were thus called into 
existence had a powerful moral effect. The manufact- 
ure of a new one cast ridicule on the origin of the old. 
Incarnation in the East and apotheosis in the West were 
fast filling Olympus with divinities. In the East, gods 
descended from heaven, and were made incarnate in 
men ; in the West, men ascended from earth, and took 
their seat among the gods. It was not the importation 
of Greek skepticism that made Kome skeptical. The 
excesses of religion itself sapped the foundations of faith. 

Not with equal rapidity did all classes of the popula- 
tion adopt monotheistic views. The merchants and law- 
yers and soldiers, who by the nature ,of their pursuits 
are more familiar with the vicissitudes of life, and have 
larger intellectual views, were the first to be affected, 
the land laborers and farmers the last. 


When the empire in a military and political sense 
had reached its culmination, in a rehgious and social 
aspect it had attained its height of immorality. It had 
become thoroughly epicurean ; its maxim was, that life 
should be made a feast, that virtue is only the seasoning 
of pleasure, and temperance the means of prolonging it. 
Dining-rooms glittering with gold and incrusted with 
gems, slaves in superb apparel, the fascinations of fe- 
male society where all the "^omen were dissolute, mag- 
nificent baths, theatres, gladiators, such were the objects 
of Boman desire. The conquerors of the world had 
discovered that the only thing worth worshiping is 
Force. By it all things might be secured, all that toil 
and trade had laboriously obtained. The confiscation 
of goods and lands, the taxation of provinces, were the 
reward of successful warfare ; and the emperor was the 
symbol of force. There was a social splendor, but it 
was the phosphorescent corruption of the ancient Medi- 
terranean world. 

In one of the Eastern provinces, Syria, some persons 
in very humble life had associated themselves together 
for benevolent and religious purposes. The doctrines 
they held were in harmony with that sentiment of uni- 
versal brotherhood arising from the coalescence of the 
conquered kingdoms. They were doctrines inculcated 
by Jesus. 

The Jewish people at that time entertained a belief, 
founded on old traditions, ihat a deliverer would arise 
among them, who would restore them to their ancient 
splendor. The disciples of Jesus regarded him as this 
long-expected Messiah. But the priesthood, believing 
that the doctrines he taught were prejudicial to their inter- 
ests, denounced him to the Boman governor, who, to sat- 
isfy their clamors, reluctantly delivered him over to death 


His doctrines of benevolence and human brother- 
hood outlasted that event. The disciples, instead of 
scattering, organized. They associated themselves on a 
principle of commimism, each throwing into the com- 
mon stock whatever property he possessed, and all his 
gains. The widows and orphans of the cominunity 
were thus supported, the poor and the sick sustained. 
From this germ was developed a new, and as the events 
proved, all-powerful society — ^the Church; new, for noth- 
ing of the kind had existed in antiquity ; powerful, for 
the local churches, at first isolated, soon began to confed- 
erate for their common interest. Through this organ- 
ization Christianity achieved aU her political triumphs. 

As we have said, the military domination of Kome 
had brought about universal peace, and had generated 
a sentiment of brotherhood among the vanquished na- 
tions. Things were, therefore, propitious for the rapid 
diffusion of the newly-established— -the Christian — ^prin- 
ciple throughout the empire. It spread from Syria 
through all Asia Minor, and successively reached Cy- 
prus, Greece, Italy, eventually extending westward as 
far as Gaul and Britain. 

Its propagation was hastened by missionaries who 
made it known in all directions. None of the ancient 
classical philosophies had ever taken advantage of such 
a means. 

Political conditions determined the boundaries of 
the new religion. Its limits- were eventually those 
of the Eoman Empire ; Home, doubtfully the place of 
death of Peter, not Jerusalem, indisputably the place 
of the death of our Savior, became the religious capital. 
It was better to have possession of the imperial seven 
hilled city, than of Gethsemane and Calvary with al] 
their holy souvenirs. 


For many years Christianity manifested itself as a 
system enjoining three things — ^toward God veneration, 
in personal life pnrity, in social life benevolence. In 
its early days of feebleness it made proselytes only by 
persuasion, but, as it increased in numbers and influence, 
it began to exhibit political tendencies, a disposition to 
form a government within the government, an empire 
within the empire. These tendencies it has never since 
lost. They are, in truth, the logical result of its de- 
velopment. The Roman emperors, discovering that it 
was absolutely incompatible with the imperial system, 
tried to put it down by force. This was in accordance 
with the spirit of their military maxims, which had 
no other means but force for the establishment of con- 

In the winter a. b. 302-'3, the Christian soldiers in 
some of the legions refused to join in the time-honored 
solemnitieB for propitiating the gods. The nmtiny 
spread so quickly, the emergency became so pressing, 
that the Emperor Diocletian was compelled to hold a 
council for the purpose of determining what should be 
done. The difficulty of the position may perhaps be 
appreciated when it is understood that the wife and the 
daughter of Diocletian himself were Christians. He 
was a man of great capa,city and large political views ; he 
recognized in the opposition that milst be made to the 
new party a political necessity, yet he expressly enjoined 
that there should be no bloodshed. But who can con- 
trol an infuriated civil commotion? The church of 
Nicomedia was razed to the ground ; in retaliation the 
imperial palace was set on fire, an edict was openly 
insulted and torn down. The Christian officers in the 
army were cashiered ; in all directions, martyrdoms and 
massacres were taking place. So resistless was the 


march of events, that not even the emperor himself 
could stop the persecution. 

It had now become evident that the Christians con- 
stituted a powerful party in the state, animated with 
indignation at the atrocities they had sufEered, and de- 
termined to endure them no longer. After the abdica- 
tion of Diocletian (a. d. 305), Constantino, one of the 
competitors for the purple, perceiving the advantages 
that would accrue to him from such a policy, put him- 
self forth as the head of the Christian party. This gave 
him, in every part of the empire, men and women 
ready to encounter fire and sword in his behalf ; it gave 
him unwavering adherents in every legion of the armies. 
In a decisive battle, near the Milvian bridge, victory 
crowned his schemes. The death of Maximin, and 
subsequently that of Licinius, removed all obstacles. 
He ascended the throne of the Csesars — ^the first Chris- 
tian emperor. 

Place, profit, power — these were in view of whoever 
now joined the conquering sect. Crowds of worldly 
persons, who cared nothing about its religious ideas, be- 
came its warmest supporters. Pagans at heart, their 
influence was soon manifested in the paganization of 
Christianity that forthwith ensued. The emperor, no 
better than they, did nothing to check their proceed- 
ings. But he did not personally conform to the cere- 
monial requirements of the Church until the close of 
his evil life, a. d. 337. 

That we may clearly appreciate the modifications 
now impressed on Christianity — ^modifications which 
eventually brought it in conflict with science — ^we must 
have, as a means of comparison, a statement of what it 
was in its purer days. Such, fortunately, we find in 
the " Apology or Defense of the Christians against the 



Accusations of tlie Gentiles," written by Tertullian, at 
Eome, during the persecution of Severus. He ad- 
dressed it, not to the emperor, but to the magistrates 
who sat in judgment on the accused. It is a solemn 
and most earnest expostulation, setting forth all that 
could be said in explanation of the subject, a represen- 
tation of the belief and cause of the Christians made in 
the imperial city in the face of the whole world, not a 
querulous or passionate ecclesiastical appeal, but a grave 
historical document. It has ever been looked upon as 
one of the ablest of the early Christian works. Its date 
is about A. D. 200. 

With no inconsiderable skill Tertullian opens his 
argument. He tells the magistrates that Christianity 
is a 'stranger upon earth, and that she expects to meet 
with enemies in a country which is not her own. She 
only asks that she may not be condemned unheard, and 
that Roman magistrates will permit her to defend her- 
self ; that the laws of the empire will gather lustre, if 
judgment be passed upon her after she haa been tried, 
but not if she is sentenced without a hearing of her 
cause ; that it is unjust to hajte a thing of which we are 
ignorant, even though it may be a thing worthy of hate ; 
that the laws of Home deal with actions, not with mere 
names; but that, notwithstanding this, persons have 
been punished because they were called Christians, and 
that without any accusation of crime. 

He then advances to an exposition of the origin, the 
nature, and the eflEects of Christianity^ stating that it is 
founded on the Hebrew Scriptures, .which are the most 
venerable of all books. He says to the magistrates: 
" The books of Moses, in which God has incloseS, as in 
a treasure, all the religion of the Jews, and consequent- 
ly all the Christian religion, reach far beyond the oldest 


you hsive, even beyond all your public monuments, the 
establishment of your state, the foundation of many 
great cities — all that is most advanced by you in all 
ages of history, and memory of times ; the invention 
of letters, which are the interpreters of sciences and the 
guardians of all excellent things. I think I may say 
more — ^beyond your gods, your temples, your oracles and 
sacrifices. The author of those books lived a thousand 
years before the siege of Troy, and more than fifteen 
hundred before Homer." Time is the ally of truth, 
and wise men believe nothing but what is certain, and 
what has been verified by time. The principal author- 
ity of these Scriptures is derived from their venerable 
antiquity. The most learned of the Ptolemies, who 
was sumamed Philadelphus, an accomplished prince, by 
the advice of Demetrius Phalareus, obtained a copy of 
these holy books. It may be found at this day in his 
library. The divinity of these Scriptures is proved by 
this, that all that is done in our days may be found pre- 
dicted in them ; they contain all that has since passed 
in the view of men. 

Is not the accomplishment of a prophecy a testimony 
to its truth ? Seeing that events which are past have 
vindicated these prophecies, shall we be blamed for trust- 
ing them in events that are to come ? Now, as we be- 
lieve things that have been prophesied and have come 
to pass, so we believe things that have been told us, 
but not yet come to pass, because they have all been 
foretold by the same Scriptures, as well those that are 
verified every day as those that still remain to be ful- 

These Holy Scriptures teach us that there is one 
God, who made the world out of nothing, who, though 
daily seen, is invisible ; his infiniteness is known only 


to himself; his immensity concealsj but at the same 
time discovers him. He has ordained for men, accord- 
ing to their lives, rewards and pimishments ; he will 
raise all the dead that have ever lived from the creation 
of the world, will command them to reassume their 
bodies, and thereupon adjudge them to felicity that has 
no end, or to eternal flames. The fires of hell are those 
hidden flames which the earth shuts up in her bosom. 
He has in past times sent into the world preachers or 
prophets. The prophets of those old times were Jews ; 
they addressed their oracles, for such they were, to the 
Jews, who have stored them up in the Scriptures. On 
them, as has been said, Christianity is founded, though 
the Christian diflfers in his ceremonies from the Jew. 
"We are accused of worshiping a man, and not the God 
of the Jews. Not so. The honor we bear to Christ 
does not derogate from the honor we bear to God. 

On account of the merit of these ancient patriarchs, 
the Jews were the only beloved people of God ; he de- 
lighted to be in communication with them by his own 
mouth. By him they were raised to admirable great- 
ness. But with perversity they wickedly ceased to re- 
gard him ; they changed his laws into a profane wor- 
ship. He warned them that he would take to himself 
servants more faithful than they, and, for their crime, 
punished them by driving them forth from their coun- 
try. They are now spread all over the world; they 
wander in all parts ; they cannot enjoy the air they 
breathed at their birth ; they have neither man nor God 
for their king. As he threatened them, so he has done. 
He has taken, in all nations and countries of the earth, 
people more faithful than they. Through his prophets 
he had declared that these should have greater favors, 
and that a Messiah should come, to publish a new law 


among them. This Messiah was Jesus, who is also God. 
For God may be derived from God,, as the light of a 
candle may be derived from the light of another candle. 
God and his Son are the self-same God — a light is the 
same light as that from which it was taken. 

The Scriptures make known two comings of the Son 
of God ; the first in hmnility, the second at the day of 
judgment, in power. The Jews might have known all 
this from the prophets, but their sins have so blinded 
them that they did not recognize him at his first coming, 
and are still vainly expecting him. They believed that 
all the miracles wrought by him were the work of magic. 
The doctors of the law and the chief priests were en- 
vious of him ; they denounced him to Pilate. He was 
crucified, died, was buried, and after three days rose 
again. For forty days he remained among his disciples. 
Then he was environed in a cloud, and rose up to 
heaven — a truth far more certain than any human 
testimonies touching the ascension of Eomulus or of 
any other Koman prince mounting up to the same 

Tertullian then describes the origin and nature of 
devils, who, under Satan, their prince, produce dis- 
eases, irregularities of the air, plagues, and the blighting 
of the blossoms of the earth, who seduce men to offer 
sacrifices, that they may have the blood of the victims, 
which is their food. They are as nimble as the birds, 
and hence know every thing that is passing upon earth ; 
they live in the air, and hence can spy what is going on 
in heaven ; for this reason they can impose on men 
feigned prophecies, and deliver oracles. Thus they 
annoxmced in Bome that a victory would be obtained 
over King Perseus, when in truth they knew that the 
battle was already won. They falsely cure diseases; 


for, taking possession of the body of a man, they pro- 
duce in him a distemper, and then ordaining some rem- 
edy to be nsed, they cease to afflict him, and men think 
that a cure has taken place. 

Though Christians deny that the emperor is a god, 
they nevertheless pray for his prosperity, because the 
general dissolution that threatens the universe, the con- 
flagration of the world, is retarded so long as the glorious 
majesty of the triumphant Boman Empire shall last. 
They desire not to be present at the subversion of all 
Nature. They acknowledge only one republic, but it is 
the whole world ; they constitute one body, worship one 
God, and all look forward to eternal happiness. Not 
only do they pray for the emperor and the magistrates, 
but also for peace. They read the Scriptures to nourish 
their faith, lift up their hope, and strengthen the confi- 
dence they have in God. They assemble to exhort one 
another ; they remove sinners from their societies ; they 
have bishops who preside over them, approved by the 
sufErages of those whom they are to conduct. At the 
end of each month every one contributes if he will, but 
no one is constrained to give; the money gathered in 
this manner is the pledge of piety ; it is not consumed 
in eating and drinking, but in feeding the poor, and 
burying them, in comforting children that are destitute 
of parents and goods, in helping old men who have 
spent the best of their days in the service of the faith- 
ful, in assisting those who have lost by shipwreck what 
they had, and those who are condemned to the mines, 
or have been banished to islands, or shut up in prisons, 
because they professed the religion of the true God. 
There is but one thing that Christians have not in com- 
mon, and that one thing is their wives. They do not 
feast as if they should die to-morrow, nor build as if they 


fihould never die. The objects of their life are iimo- 
cence, justice, patience, temperance, chastity. 

To this noble expositipn of Christian belief and life 
in his day, Tertullian does not hesitate to add an omi- 
nous warning to the magistrates he is addressing- 
ominous, for it was a forecast of a great event soon to 
come to pass : " Our origin is but recent, yet already we 
fiU all that your power acknowledges — cities, fortresses, 
ialands, provinces, the assemblies of the people, the 
wards of Eome, the palace, the senate, the public places, 
and especially the armies. We have left you nothing 
but your temples. Keflect what wars we are able to 
undertake ! With what promptitude might we not arm 
ourselves were we not restrained by our religion, which 
teaches us that it is better to be killed than to kiU I " 

Before he closes his defense, Tertullian renews an 
assertion which, carried into practice, as it subsequently 
was, affected the intellectual development of all Europe. 
He declares that the Holy Scriptures are a treasure from 
which all the true wisdom in the world has been drawn ; 
that every philosopher and every poet is indebted to 
them. He labors to show that they are the standard and 
measure of aU truth, and that whatever is inconsistent 
with them must necessarily be false. 

From Tertullian's able work we see what Christi- 
anity was while it was suffering persecution and strug- 
gling for existence. We have now to see what it be- 
came when in possession of imperial power. Great is 
the difference between Christianity under Severus and 
Christianity after Constantirie. Many of the doctrines 
which at the latter period were preeminent, in the for- 
mer were xmknown. 

Two causes led to the amalgamation o£ Christianity 
with paganism : 1. The political necessities of the new 


dynasty ; 2. The policy adopted by the new religion to 
insure its spread. 

1. Though the Christian party had proved itself 
sufficiently strong to give a master to the empire, it was 
never sufficiently strong to destroy its antagonist, pagan- 
ism. The issue of the struggle between them was an 
amalgamation of the principles of both. In this, Chris- 
tianity differed from Mohanmiedanism, which absolutely 
annihilated its antagonist, and spread its own doctrines 
without adulteration. 

Constantine continually showed by his acts that he 
felt he must be the impartial sovereign of all his people, 
not merely the representative of a successful faction. 
Hence, if he built Christian churches, he also restored 
pagan temples ; if he listened to the clergy, he also con- 
sulted the haruspices ; if he summoned the Council of 
Nicea, he also honored the statue of Fortune; if he 
accepted the rite of baptism, he also struck a medal 
bearing his title of " God." His statue, on the top of 
the great porphyry pillar at Constantinople, consisted 
of an ancient image of Apollo, whose features were re- 
placed by those of the emperor, and its head surrounded 
by the nails feigned to have been used at the cruci- 
fixion of Christ, arranged so as to form a crown of 

Feeling that there must be concessions to the de- 
feated pagan party, in accordance with its ideas, he 
looked with favor on the idolatrous movements of his 
court. In fact, the leaders of these movements were 
persons of his own family. 

2. To the emperor — a mere worldling---a man with- 
out any religious convictions, doubtless it appeared best 
for himself, best for the empire, and best for the con- 
tending parties. Christian and pagan, to promote their 


union, or amalgamation as mucli as possible. Even sin- 
cere Christians do not seem to have been averse to this ; 
perhaps they believed that the new doctrines would dif- 
fuse most thoroughly by incorporating in themselves 
ideas borrowed from the old, that Truth would assert her- 
self in the end, and the impurity be cast ofE. In accom- 
plishing this amalgamation, Helena, the empress-mother, 
aided by the court ladies, led the way. For her gratifi- 
cation there were discovered, in a cavern at Jerusalem, 
wherein they had lain buried for more than three cen- 
turies, the Savior's cross, and those of the two thieves, 
the inscription, and the nails that had been used. They 
were identified by miracle. A true relic-worship set in. 
The superstition of the old Greek times reappeared ; the 
times when the tools with which the Trojan horse was 
made might still be seen at Metapontum, the sceptre of 
Pelops at Chseroneia, the spear of Achilles at Phaselis, 
the sword of Memnon at Nicomedia, when the Tegeates 
could show the hide of the Calydonian boar and very 
many cities boasted their possession of the true palla- 
dium of Troy ; when there were statues of Minerva that 
could brandish spears, paintings that could blush, im- 
ages that could sweat, and endless shrines and sanctua- 
ries at which miracle-cures could be performed. 

As years passed on, the faith described by Tertul- 
lian was transmuted into one more fashionable and 
more debased. It was incorporated with the old Greek 
mythology. Olympus was restored, but the divinities 
passed under other names. The more powerful prov- 
inces insisted on the adoption of their time-honored 
conceptions. Views of the Trinity, in accordance with 
Egyptian traditions, were established. Not only was 
the adoration of Isis under a new name restored, but 
even her image, standing on the crescent moon, reap- 


l>eared. The well-known eflSgy of that goddess, with 
the infant Horus in her arms, has descended to our days 
in the beautiful, artistic creations of the Madonna and 
Child. Such restorations of old conceptions under novel 
forms were everywhere received with delight. When 
it was announced to the Ephesians that the Council of 
that place, headed by Cyril, had decreed that the Virgin 
should be called " the Mother of God," with tears of 
joy they embraced the knees of their bishop ; it was the 
old instinct peeping out; their ancestors would have 
done the same for Diana. 

This attempt to conciliate worldly converts, by adopt- 
ing their ideas and practices, did not pass without re- 
monstrance from those whose intelligence discerned the 
motive. " Tou have," says Faustus to Augustine, " sub- 
stituted your agapae for the sacrifices of the pagans ; for 
their idols your martyrs, whom you serve with the very 
same honors. Tou appease the shades of the dead with 
wine and feasts ; you celebrate the solenm festivities of 
the Gentiles, their calends, and their solstices ; and, as to 
their manners, those you have retained without any al- 
teration. Nothing distinguishes you from the pagans, 
except that you hold your assembKes apart from them." 
Pagan observances were everywhere introduced. At 
weddings it was the custom to sing hymns to Venus. 

Let us pause here a moment, and see, in anticipa- 
tion, to what a depth of intellectual degradation this 
policy of paganization eventually led. Heathen rites 
were adopted, a pompous and splendid ritual, gorgeous 
robes, mitres, tiaras, wax-tapers, processional services, 
lustrations, gold and silver vases, were introduced. The 
Koman lituus, the chief ensign of the augurs, became 
the crozier. Churches were built over the tombs of 
martyrs, and consecrated with rites borrowed from the 


ancient laws of tlie Eoman pontiffs. Festivals and com- 
memorations of martyrs multiplied with the nxmiberless 
fictitious discoveries of their remains. Fasting became 
the grand means of repelling the devil and appeasing 
God ; celibacy the greatest of the virtues. Pilgrimages 
were made to Palestine and the tombs of the martyrs. 
Quantities of dust and earth were brought from the 
Holy Land and sold at enormous prices, as antidotes 
against devils. The virtues of consecrated water were 
upheld. Images and relics were introduced into the 
churches, and worshiped after the fashion of the heathen 
gods. It was given out that prodigies and miracles were 
to be seen in certain places, as in the heathen times. 
The happy souls of departed Christians were invoked ; 
it was believed that they were wandering about the 
world, or haunting their graves. There was a multi- 
plication of temples, altars, and penitential garments. 
The festival of the purification of the Virgin was in- 
vented to remove the uneasiness of heathen converts on 
account of the loss of their Lupercalia, or feasts of Pan. 
The worship of images, of fragments of the cross, or 
bones, nails, and other relics, a true fetich worship, was 
cultivated. Two arguments were relied on for the au- 
thenticity of these objects — ^the authority of the Church, 
and the working of miracles. Even the worn-out cloth- 
ing of the saints and the earth of their graves were ven- 
erated. From Palestine were brought what were af- 
firmed to be the skeletons of St. Mark and St. James, 
and other ancient worthies. The apotheosis of the 
old Koman times was replaced by canonization; tute- 
lary saints succeed to local mythological divinities. 
Then came the mystery of transubstantiation, or the 
conversion of bread and wine by the priest into the 
flesh and blood of Christ. As centuries passed, the 


paganization became more and more complete. Festi- 
vals sacred to the memory of the lance with which the 
Savior's side was pierced, the nails that fastened him 
to the cross, and the crown of thorns, were instituted. 
Thougli there were several abbeys that possessed this 
last peerless relic, no one dared to say that it was im- 
possible they could all be authentic. 

We may read with advantage the remarks made by 
Bishop Newton on this paganization of. Christianity. 
He asks : " Is not the worship of saints and angels now 
in all respects the same that the worship of demons 
was in former times ? The name only is different, the 
thing is identically the same, ... the deified men of the 
Christians are substituted for the deified men of the 
heathens. The promoters of this worship were sensible 
that it was the same, and that the one succeeded to the 
other ; and, as the worship is the same, so likewise it is 
performed with the same ceremonies. The burning of 
incense or perfumes on several altars at one and the 
same time ; the sprinkling of holy water, or a mixture 
of salt and common water, at going into and coming out 
of places of public worship ; the lighting up of a great 
number of lamps and wax-candles in broad daylight 
before altars and statues of these deities ; the hanging 
up of votive offerings and rich presents as attestations 
of so many miraculous cures and deliverances from dis- 
eases and dangers; the canonization or deification of 
deceased worthies ; the assigning of distinct provinces or 
prefectures to departed heroes and saints ; the worship- 
ing and adoring of the dead in their sepulchres, shrines, 
and relics; the consecrating and bowing down toj'm- 
ages ; the attributing of miraculous powers and virtues 
to idols ; the setting up of little oratories, altars, and 
statues in the streets and highways, and on the tops of 



mountains ; the carrying of images and relics in pompous 
procession, with numerous lights and with music and 
singing; flagellations at solemn seasons xmder the notion 
of penance ; a great variety of religious orders and fra- 
ternities of priests ; the shaving of priests, or the tonsure 
as it is called, on the crown of their heads ; the imposing 
of celibacy and vows of chastity on the religious of both 
sexes — all these and many more rites and ceremonies are 
equally parts of pagan and popish superstition. Nay, 
the very same temples, the very same images, which 
were once consecrated to Jupiter and the other demons, 
are now consecrated to the Virgin Mary and the other 
saints. The very same rites and inscriptions are as- 
cribed to both, the very same prodigies and miracles 
are related of these as of those. In short, almost the 
whole of paganism is converted and applied to popery ; 
the one is manifestly formed upon the same plan and 
principles as the other ; so that there is not only a con- 
formity, but even a uniformity, in the worship of an- 
cient and modem, of heathen and Christian Eome." 

Thus far Bishop Newton ; but to return to the times 
of Constantine: though these concessions to old and 
popular ideas were permitted and even encouraged, the 
dominant religious party never for a moment hesitated 
to enforce its decisions by the aid of the civil power — 
an aid which was freely given. Constantine thus car- 
ried into effect the acts of the Council of Nicea. In 
the affair of Arius, he even ordered that whoever should 
find a book of that heretic, and not bum it, should be 
put to death. In like manner Nestor was by Theodo- 
sius.the Younger banished to an Egyptian oasis. 

The pagan party included many of the old aristo- 
cratic families of the empire ; it counted among its ad- 
herents all the disciples of the old philosophical schools. 



It looked down on its antagonist with contempt. It 
asserted that knowledge is to be obtained only by the 
laborious exercise of human observation and human 

The Christian party asserted that all knowledge is 
to be found in the Scriptures and in the traditions of 
the Church ; that, in the written revelation, God had not 
only given a criterion of truth, but had furnished us all 
that he intended us to know. The Scriptures, there- 
fore, contain the sum, the end of all knowledge. The 
clergy, with the emperor at their back, would endure no 
intellectual competition. 

Thus came into prominence what were termed sa- 
cred and profane knowledge ; thus came into presence of 
each other two opposing parties, one relying on himian 
reason as its guide, the other on revelation. Paganism 
leaned for support on the learning of its philosophers, 
Christianity on the inspiration of its Fathers. 

The Church thus set herself forth as the depository 
and arbiter of knowledge ; she was ever ready to resort 
to the civil power to compel obedience to her decisions. 
She thus took a course which determined her whole 
future career: she became a stumbling-block in the 
intellectual advancement of Europe for more than a 
thousand years. 

The reign of Constantino marks the epoch of the 
transformation of Christianity from a religion into a 
political system ; and though, in one sense, that system 
was degraded into an idolatry, in another it had risen 
into a development of the old Greek mythology. The 
maxim holds good in the social as well as in the me- 
chanical world, that, when two bodies strike, the form of 
both is changed. Paganism was modified by Christi- 
anity ; Christianity by Paganism. 



In the Trinitarian controversy, which first broke out 
in Egypt — ^Egypt, the land of Trinities — ^the chief point 
in discussion was to define the position of ," the Son." 
There lived in Alexandria a presbyter of the name of 
Arius, a disappointed candidate for the office of bishop. 
He took the ground that there was a time when, from 
the very nature of sonship, the Son did not exist, and 
a time at which he commenced to be, asserting that it 
is the necessary condition of the filial relation that a 
father must be older than his son. But this assertion 
evidently denied the coetemity of the three persons of 
the Trinity ; it suggested a subordination or inequality 
among them, and indeed implied a time when the 
Trinity did not exist. Hereupon, the bishop, who had 
been the successful competitor against Arius, displayed 
his rhetorical powers in public debates on the question, 
and, the strife spreading, the Jews and pagans, who 
formed a very large portion of the population of Alex- 
andria, amused themselves with theatrical representa- 
tions of the contest on the stage — ^the point of their 
burlesques being the equality of age of the Father and 
his Son. 

Such was the violence the controversy at length 
assumed, that the matter had to be referred to the em- 
peror. At first he looked upon the dispute as alto- 
gether frivolous, and perhaps in truth inclined to the 
assertion of Arius, that in the very nature of the thing 
a father must be older, than his son. So great, however, 
was the pressure laid upon him, that he was eventually 
compelled to summon the Council of Nicea, which, to 
dispose of the conflict, set forth a formulary or creed, 
and attached to it this anathema : " The Holy Catholic 
and Apostolic Church anathematizes those who say that 
there was a time when the Son of God was not, and 


that, before lie was begotten, he was not, and that he 
was made out of nothing, or out of another substance 
or essence, and is created, or changeable, or alterable." 
Constantine at once enforced the decision of the council 
by the civil power. 

A few years subsequently the Emperor Theodosius 
prohibited sacrifices, made the inspection of the entrails 
of animals a capital offense, and forbade any one enter- 
ing a temple. He instituted Inquisitors of Faith, and 
ordained that all who did not accord with the belief of 
Damasus, the Bishop of Eome, and Peter, the Bishop of 
Alexandria, should be driven into exile, and deprived 
of civil rights. Those who presumed to celebrate Easter 
on the same day as the Jews, he condemned to death. 
The Greek language was now ceasing to be known in 
the "West, and true learning was becoming extinct. 

At this time the bishopric of Alexandria was held 
by one Theophilus. An ancient temple of Osiris hav- 
ing been given to the Christians of the city for the site 
of a church, it happened that, in digging the foundation 
for the new edifice, the obscene symbols of the former 
worship chanced to be found. These, with more zeal 
than modesty, Theophilus exhibited in the market-place 
to public derision. "With less forbearance than the Chris- 
tian party showed when it was insulted in the theatre 
during the Trinitarian dispute, the pagans resorted to 
violence, and a riot ensued. They held the Serapion as 
their headquarters. Such were the disorder and blood- 
shed that the emperor had to interfere. He dispatched 
a rescript to Alexandria, enjoining the bishop, Theophi* 
lus, to destroy the Serapion ; and the great library, which 
had been collected by the Ptolemies, and had escaped 
the fire of Julius Caesar, was by that fanatic dispersed. 

The bishopric thus held bj Theophilus was in due 


time occupied by his nephew St. Cyril, who had com- 
mended himself to the approval of the Alexandrian con- 
gregations as a successful and fashionable preacher. It 
was he who had so much to do with the introduction of 
the worship of the Virgin Mary. His hold upon the 
audiences of the giddy city was, however, much weak- 
ened by Hypatia, the daughter of Theon, the mathe- 
matician, who not only distinguished herself by her expo- 
sitions of the doctrines of Plato and Aristotle, but also 
by her comments on the writings of Apollonius and 
other geometers. Each day before her academy stood 
a long train of chariots ; her lecture-room was crowded 
with the wealth and fashion of Alexandria. They 
came to listen to her discourses on those questions 
which man in all ages has asked, but which never yet 
have been answered : " What am I ? Where am I ? 
What can I know i " 

Hypatia and Cyril ! Philosophy and bigotry. They 
cannot exist together. So Cyril felt, and on that feel- 
ing he acted. As Hypatia repaired to her academy, she 
was assaulted by Cyril's mob — a mob of many monks. 
Stripped naked in the street, she was dragged into a 
church, and there killed by the club of Peter the 
Eeader. The corpse was cut to pieces, the flesh was 
scraped from the bones with shells, and the remnants 
cast into a fire. For this frightful crime Cyril was 
never called to account. It seemed to be admitted that 
the end sanctified the means. 

So ended Greek philosophy in Alexandiia, so came 
to an untimely close the learning that the Ptolemies 
had done so much to promote. The "Daughter Li- 
brary," that of the Serapion, had been dispersed. The 
fate of Hypatia was a warning to all who would culti- 
vate profane knowledge. Henceforth there was to be no 


freedom for human thonght. Every one must tltink as 
the ecclesiastical authority ordered him, a. d. 414. In 
Athens itself philosophy awaited its doom. Justinian at 
length prohibited its teaching, and caused all its schools 
in that city to be closed. 

While these events were transpiring in the Eastern 
provinces of the Eoman Empire, the spirit that had 
produced them was displaying itself in the "West. A 
British monk, who had assumed the name of Pelagius, 
passed through "Western Europe and Northern Africa, 
teaching that death was not introduced into the world 
by the sin of Adam ; that on the contrary he was neces- 
sarily and by nature mortal, and had he not sinned he 
would nevertheless have died ; that the consequences of 
his sins were confined to himseK, and did not affect his 
posterity. From these premises Pelagius drew certain 
important theological conclusions. 

At Eome, Pelagius had been received with favor ; at 
Carthage, at the instigation of St. Augustine, he was 
denounced. By a synod, held at Diospolis, he was 
acquitted of heresy, but, on referring the matter to the 
Bishop of Home, Innocent I., he was, on the contrary, 
condemned. It happened that at this moment Innocent 
died, and his successor, Zosimus, annulled his judgment, 
and declared the opinions of Pelagius to be orthodox. 
These contradictory decisions are still often referred to 
by the opponents of papal infallibility. Things were in 
this state of confusion, when the wily African bishops, 
through the influence of Count Valerius, procured from 
the emperor an edict denouncing Pelagius as a heretic ; 
he and his accomplices were condemned to exile and the 
forfeiture of their goods. To aflSrm that death was in 
the world before the fall of Adam, was a state crime. 

It is very instructive to consider the principles on 


which this strange decision was founded. Since the 
question was purely philosophical, one might suppose 
that it would haye been discussed on natural principles ; 
instead of that, theological considerations alone were ad- 
duced. The attentive reader will have remarked, in 
Tertullian's statement of the principles of Christianity, 
a complete absence of the doctrines of original sin, total 
depravity, predestination, grace, and atonement. The in- 
tention of Christianity, as set forth by him, has nothing 
in common with the plan of salvation upheld two cen- 
turies subsequently. It is to St. Augustine, a Cartha- 
ginian, that we are indebted for the precision of our 
views on these important points. 

In deciding whether death had been in the world 
before the fall of Adam, or whether it was the penalty 
inflicted on the world for his sin, the course taken was 
to ascertain whether the views of Pelagius were accord- 
ant or discordant not with Nature but with the theologi 
cal doctrines of St. Augustine. And the result has been 
such as might be expected. The doctrine declared to 
be orthodox by ecclesiastical authority is overthrown by 
the unquestionable discoveries of modern science. Long 
before a human being had appeared upon earth, mill- 
ions of individuals — ^nay, more, thousands of species 
and even genera — ^had died ; those which remain with us 
are an insignificant fraction of the vast hosts that have 
Dassed away. 

A consequence of great importance issued from the 
decision of the Pelagian controversy. The book of 
Genesis had been made the basis of Christianity. If, 
in a theological point of view, to its account of the sin 
in the garden of Eden, and the transgression and pun- 
ishment of Adam, so much weight had been attached, it 
also in a philosophical point of view became the grand 


anthority of Patristic science. Astronomy, geology, ge- 
ography, antliropology, chronology, and indeed all the 
various departments of human knowledge, were made 
to conform to it. 

As the doctrines of St. Augustine have had the 
effect of thus placing theology in antagonism with sci- 
ence, it may be interesting to examine briefly some of 
the more purely philosophical views of that great man. 
For this purpose, we may appropriately select portions 
of his study of the first chapter of Genesis, as contained 
in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth books of his 
" Confessions." 

These consist of philosophical discussions, largely in- 
terspersed with rhapsodies. He prays that God will 
give him to understand the Scriptures, and will open 
their meaning to him ; he declares that in them there is 
nothing superfluous, but that the words have a manifold 

The face of creation testifies that there has been a 
Creator ; but at once anses the question, "How and when 
did he make heaven and earth ? They could not have 
been made in heaven and earth, the world could not 
have been made m the world, nor could they have been 
made when there was nothing to make them of." The 
solution of this fundamental inquiry St. Augustine 
finds in saying, " Thou spakest, and they were made." 

But the difficulty does not end here. St. Augustine 
goes on to remark that the syllables thus uttered by 
God came forth in succession, and there must have been 
some created thing to express the words. . This created 
thing must, therefore, have" existed before heaven and 
earth, and yet there could have been no corporeal thing 
before heaven and earth. It must have been a creature, 
because the words passed away and came to an end; 


but we know that "the word of the Lord endureth 

Moreover, it is plain that the words thus spoken 
could not have been spoken successively, but simulta- 
neously, else there would have been time and change- 
succession in its nature implying time ; whereas there 
was then nothing but eternity and immortality. God 
knows and says eternally what takes place in time. 

St. Augustine then defines, not without much mys- 
ticism, what is meant by the opening words of Genesis : 
" In the beginning." He is guided to his conclusion by 
another scriptural passage : " How wonderful are thy 
works, O Lord ! in wisdom hast thou made them all." 
This " wisdom " is " the beginning," and in that begin- 
ning the Lord created the heaven and the earth. 

" But," he adds, " some one may ask, ' What was God 
doing before he made the heaven and the earth ? for, if 
at any particular moment he began to employ himself, 
that means time, not eternity. In eternity nothing 
transpires — the whole is present.' " In answering this 
question, he cannot forbear one of those touches of 
rhetoric for which he was so celebrated : " I will not 
answer this question by saying that he was preparing 
hell for priers into his mysteries. I say that, before 
God made heaven and earth, he did not make any thing, 
for no creature could be made before any creature was 
made. Time itself is a creature, and hence it could not 
possibly exist before creation. 

" What, then, is time ? The past is not, the future 
is not, the present — who can tell what it is, unless it be 
that which has no duration between two nonentities? 
There is no such thing as 'a long time,' or *a short 
time,' for there are no such things as the past and the 
future. They have no existence, except in the soul." 


The style in which St. Augustine conveyed lis ideas 
is that of a rhapsodical conversation with God. His 
works are an incoherent dream. That the reader may 
appreciate this remark, I might copy almost at random 
any of his paragraphs. The following is from the 
twelfth book : 

" This, then, is what I conceive, O my God, when I 
hear thy Scripture saying, In the beginning God made 
heaven and earth : and the earth was invisible and with- 
out form, and darkness was upon the deep, and not men- 
tioning what day thou createdst them ; this is what I con- 
ceive, that because of the heaven of heavens^that in- 
tellectual heaven, whose intelligences know all at once, 
not in part, not darkly, not through a glass, but as a 
whole, in manifestation, face to face; not this thing 
now, and that thing anon ; but (as I said) know all at 
once, without any succession of times ; and because of 
the earth, invisible and without form, without any suc- 
cession of times, which succession presents ' this thing 
now, that thing anon ; ' because, where there is no form, 
there is no distinction of things ; it is, then, on account 
of these two, a primitive formed, and a primitive form- 
less ; the one, heaven, but the heaven of heavens ; the 
other, earth, but the earth movable and without form ; 
because of these two do I conceive, did thy Scripture 
say without mention of days. In the beginning God 
created the heaven and the earth. For, forthwith it 
subjoined what earth it spake of ; and also in that the 
firmament is recorded to be created the second day, and 
called heaven, it conveys to us of which heaven he be- 
fore spake, without mention of days. 

"Wondrous depth of thy wordb 1 whose surface, 
behold ! is before us, inviting to little ones ; yet are 
they a wondrous depth, O my God, a wondrous depth ( 


It is awful to look tlierein ; an awf ulness of honor, and 
a trembling of love. Tlie enemies thereof I hate ve- 
hemently ; O that thou wouldst slay them with thy 
two-edged sword, that they might no longer be enemies 
to it : for so do I love to have them slain unto them- 
selves, that they may live unto thee." 

A^ an example of the hermeneutical manner in 
which St. Augustine unfolded the concealed facts of 
the Scriptures, I may cite the following from the thir- 
teenth book of the " Confessions;" his object is to show 
that the doctrine of the Trinity is contained in the 
Mosaic narrative of the creation : 

" Lo, now the Trinity appears unto me in a glass 
darkly, which is thou my God, because thou, O Father, 
in him who is the beginning of our wisdom, which is 
thy wisdom, bom of thyself, equal unto thee and co- 
eternal, that is, in thy Son, createdst heaven and earth. 
Much now have we said of the heaven of heavens, and 
of the earth invisible and without form, and of the dark- 
some deep, in reference to the wandering instability of 
its spiritual deformity, unless it had been converted 
unto him, from whom it had its then degree of life, 
and by his enlightening became a beauteous life, and 
the heaven of that heaven, which was afterward set be- 
tween water and water. And under the name of God, 
I now held the Father, who made these things ; and 
under the name of the beginning, the Son, in whom he 
made these things ; and believing, as I did, my God as 
the Trinity, I searched further in his holy words, and 
lo! thy Spirit moved upon the waters. Behold the 
Tiinity, my God I — Father, and Son, and Holy Ghost 
Creator of all creation." 

That I might convey to my reader a just impres 
sion of the character of St. Augustine's philosophicaj 


writings, I have, in the two qnotations here given, sub- 
stituted for my own translation that of the Rev. Dr. 
Pusey, as contained in Vol. I. of the " Library of Fa- 
thers of the Holy Catholic Church," published at Ox- 
ford, 1840. 

Considering the eminent authority which has been 
attributed to the writings of St. Augustine by the re- 
ligious world for nearly fifteen centuries, it is proper 
to speak of them with respect. And indeed it is not 
necessary to do otherwise. The paragraphs here quoted 
criticise themselves. No one did more than this Father 
to bring science and religion into antagonism ; it was 
mainly he who diverted the Bible from its true office — 
a guide to purity of life — and placed it in the perilous 
position of being the arbiter of human knowledge, an 
audacious tyranny over the mind of man. The ex- 
ample once set, there was no want of followers ; the 
works of the great Greek philosophers were stigmatized 
as profane ; the transcendently glorious achievements of 
the Museum of Alexandria were hidden from sight by 
a cloud of ignorance, mysticism, and unintelligible jar- 
gon, out of which there too often flashed the destroying 
lightnings of ecclesiastical vengeance. 

A divine revelation of science admits of no improve- 
ment, no change, no advance. It discourages as need- 
less, and indeed as presuijptuous, all new discovery, 
considering it as an unlawful prying into things which 
it was the intention of God to conceal. 

What, then, is that sacred, that revealed science, de- 
clared by the Fathers to be the sum of all knowledge ? 

It likened all phenomena, natural and spiritual, to 
human acts. It saw in the Almighty, the Eternal, onlj 
a gigantic man. 


As to the earth, it affirmed that it is a flat surface, 
over which the sky is spread like a dome, or, as St. 
Augustine teUs us, is stretched like a skin. In this the 
sun and moon and stars move, so that they may give 
light by day and by night to man. The earth was 
made of matter created by God out of nothing, and, 
with all the tribes of animals and plants inhabitiQg it, 
was finished in six days. Above the sky or firmament 
is heaven ; in the dark and fiery space beneath the earth 
is hell. The earth is the central and most important 
body of the universe, all other things beiag intended 
for and subservient to it. 

As to man, he was made out of the dust of the 
earth. At first he was alone, but subsequently woman 
was formed from one of his ribs. He is the greatest 
and choicest of the works of God. He was placed in a 
paradise near the banks of the Euphrates, and was very 
wise and very pure ; but, having tasted of the forbidden 
fruit, and thereby broken the commandment given to 
him, he was condemned to labor and to death. 

The descendants of the first man, undeterred by his 
punishment, pursued such a career of wickedness that 
it became necessary to destroy them. A deluge, there- 
fore, flooded the face of the earth, and rose over the 
tops of the mountains. Having accomplished its pur- 
pose, the water was dried up by a wind. 

From this catastrophe Noah and his three sons, with 
their wives, were saved in an ark. Of these sons, Shem 
remained in Asia and repeopled it. Ham peopled Af- 
rica; Japhet, Europe. As the Fathers were not ac- 
quainted with the existence of America, they did not 
provide an ancestor for its people. 

Let us listen to what some of these authorities say 
in support of their assertions. Thus Lactantius, refer- 


ring to the heretical doctrine of the globular form of 
the earth, remarks : " Is it possible that men can be so 
absm-d as to believe that the crops and the trees on the 
other side of the earth hang downward, and that men 
have their feet higher than their heads ? If you ask 
them how they defend these monstrosities, how things 
do not fall away from the earth on that side, they re- 
ply that the nature of things is such that heavy bodies 
tend toward the centre, like the spokes of a wheel, while 
light bodies, as clouds, smoke, fire, tend from the centre 
to the heavens on all sides. Now, I am really at a loss 
what to say of those who, when they have once gone 
wrong, steadily persevere in their folly, and defend one 
absurd opinion by another," On the question of the 
antipodes, St. Augustine asserts that " it is impossible 
there should be inhabitants on the opposite side of the 
earth, since no such race is recorded by Scripture among 
the descendants of Adam." Perhaps, however, the most 
unanswerable argument against the sphericity of the 
earth was this, that " in the day of judgment, men on 
the other side of a globe could not see the Lord de- 
scending through the air." 

It is unnecessary for me to say any thing respect- 
ing the introduction of death into the world, the con- 
tinual interventions of spiritual agencies in the course 
of events, the offices of angels and devils, the expected 
conflagration of the earth, the tower of Babel, the con- 
fusion of tongues, the dispersion of mankind, the inter- 
pretation of natural phenomena, as eclipses, the rain 
bow, etc. Above all, I abstain from commenting on 
the Patristic conceptions of the Almighty ; they are too 
anthropomorphic, and wanting in sublimity. 

Perhaps, however, I may quote* from Cosmas Indi- 
copleustes the views that were entertained in the sixth 


century. He wrote a work entitled " Christian Topog- 
raphy," the chief intent of which was to confute the 
heretical opinion of the globular form of the earth, and 
the pagan assertion that there is a temperate zone on 
the southern side of the torrid. He afltens that, ac- 
cording to the true orthodox system of geography, the 
earth is a quadrangular plane, extending four hundred 
days' journey east and west, and exactly half as much 
north and south; that it is inclosed by mountains, 
on which the sky rests; that one on the north side, 
huger than the others, by intercepting the rays of the 
sun, produces night ; and that the plane of the earth is 
not set exactly horizontally, but with a little inclination 
from the north : hence the Euphrates, Tigris, and other 
rivers, running southward, are rapid; but the Nile, 
having to run up-hill, has necessarily a very slow 

The Yenerable Bede, writing in the seventh century, 
telLs us that " the creation was accomplished in six days, 
and that the earth is its centre and its primary object. 
The heaven is of a fiery and subtile nature, round, and 
equidistant in every part, as a canopy from the centre 
of the earth. It turns round every day with ineffable 
rapidity, only moderated by the resistance of the seven 
planets, three above the sun — Saturn, Jupiter, Mars — 
then the sun ; three below — ^Venus, Mercury, the moon. 
The stars go round in their fixed courses, the northern 
perform the shortest circle. The highest heaven has 
its proper limit ; it contains the angelic virtues who de- 
scend upon earth, assume ethereal bodies, perform hu- 
man functions, and return. The heaven is tempered 
with glacial waters, lest it should be set on fire. The 
inferior heaven is called the firmament, because it sep- 
arates the superincumbent waters from the waters be- 


low. The firmamental waters are lower than the spirit- 
ual heaven, higher than all corporeal beings, reserved, 
some say, for a second deluge ; others, more truly, to 
temper the fire of the fixed stars.'' 

"Was it for this preposterous scheme — ^this product 
of ignorance and audacity — ^that the works of the Greek 
philosophers were to be given up ? It was none too 
soon that the great critics who appeared at the Kef orma- 
tion, by comparing the works of these writers with one 
another, brought them to their proper level, and taught 
us to look upon them all with contempt. 

Of this presumptuous system, the strangest part was 
its logic, the nature of its proofs. It relied upon mira- 
cle-evidence. A fact was supposed to be demonstrated 
by an astounding illustration of something else 1 An 
Arabian writer, referring to this, says : " If a conjurer 
should say to me, ' Three are more than ten, and in proof 
of it I will change this stick into a serpent,' I might be 
surprised at his legerdemain, but I certainly should not 
admit his assertion." Yet, for more than a thousand 
years, such was the accepted logic, and all over Europe 
propositions equally absurd were accepted on equally 
ridiculous proof. 

Since the party that had become dominant in the 
empire could not furnish works capable of intellectual 
competition with those of the great pagan authors, and 
since it was impossible for it to accept a position of in- 
feriority, there arose a political necessity for the dis- 
couragement, and even persecution, of profane learn- 
ing. The persecution of the Platonists imder Valen- 
tinian was due to that necessity. They were accused 
of magic, and many of them were put to death. The 
profession of philosophy had become dangerous — ^it was 
a state crime. In its stead there arose a passion for the 


marvelous, a spirit of superstition. • Egypt exchanged 
the great men, who had made her Museum immortal, 
for bands of soUtary monks and sequestered virgins, 
with which she was Tverrun. 



Thj6 EgypiioM insist on the introduction of the worship of the Virgin 
Mary. — They are resisted by Nestor^ the Patriarch of Constantinople^ 
biU eventually y through their influence with the emperor ^ cause Nestor's 
exile and the dispersion of his followers. 

Prelude to the Southern Reformation. — The Persian attack; its moral 

The Arabian Reformation. — Mohammed is brought in contact with the 
Nestorians. — He adopts and extends their principles^ rejecting the 
worship of the Virgin, the doctrine of the Trinity, and every thing in 
opposition to the unity of €hd, — He extinguishes idolatry in Arabia, 
by force, and prepares to make war on the Roman Empire, — His sue- 
eessors conquer Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, and 
invade France. 

As the resuU of this conflict, the doctrine of the unity of Ood was estab- 
Ushed in the greaier part of the Roman Empire. — The cultivation of 
science was restored, and Christendom lost many of her most illustrious 
capitals, as Alexandria, Carthage, and, above aU, Jerusalem. 

The poKcy of the Byzantine court had given to 
primitive Christianity a paganized form, which it had 
spread over all the idolatrous populations constituting 
the empire. There had been an amalgamation of the 
two parties. Christianity had modified paganism, pagan- 
ism had modified Christianity. The limits of this adul- 
terated religion were the confines of the Eoman Empire. 

With this great extension there had come to the 


Christian party political influence and wealth. No in- 
significant portion of the vast public revenues found 
their way into the treasuries of the Church. As under 
such circumstances must ever be the case, there were 
many competitors for the spoils — ^men who, under the 
mask of zeal for the predominant faith, sought only the 
enjoyment of its emoluments. 

Under the early emperors, conquest had reached its 
culmination ; the empire was completed ; there remained 
no adequate objects for military life ; the days of war- 
peculation, and the plundering of provinces, were over. 
For the ambitious, however, another path was open; 
other objects presented. A successful career in the 
Church led to results not unworthy of comparison with 
those that in former days had been attained by a suc- 
cessful career in the army. 

The ecclesiastical, and indeed, it may be said, much 
of the political history of that time, turns on the strug- 
gles of the bishops of the three great metropolitan cities 
— Constantinople, Alexandria, Rome — ^for supremacy: 
Constantinople based her claims on the fact that she 
was the existing imperial city ; Alexandria pointed to 
her commercial and literary position; Eome, to her 
souvenirs. But the Patriarch of Constantinople labored 
under the disadvantage that he was too closely under 
the eye, and, as he found to his cost, too often imder the 
hand, of the emperor. Distance gave security to the 
episcopates of Alexandria and Home. 

Keligious disputations in the East have generally 
turned on diversities of opinion respecting the nature 
and attributes of God ; in the West, on the relations and 
life of man. This peculiarity has been strikingly mani- 
fested in the transformations that Christianity has imder- 
gone in Asia and Europe respectively. Accordingly, 



at the time of which we are speaking, all the Eastern 
provinces of the Roman Empire exhibited an intellect- 
ual anarchy. There were fierce quarrels respecting the 
Trinity, the essence of God, the position of the Son, the 
nature of the Holy Spirit, the influences of the Yirgin 
Mary. The triumphant clamor first of one tlien of 
another sect was confirmed, sometimes by miracle-proof, 
sometimes by bloodshed. No attempt was ever made 
to submit the rival opinions to logical examination. 
All parties, however, agreed in this, that the imposture 
of the old classical pagan forms of faith was demon- 
strated by the facility with which they had been over- 
thrown. The triumphant ecclesiastics proclaimed that 
the images of the gods had failed to defend themselves 
when the time of trial came. 

Polytheistic ideas have always been held in repute 
by the southern European races, the Semitic have main- 
tained the unity of God. Perhaps this is due to the fact, 
as a recent author has suggested, that a diversified land- 
scape of mountains and valleys, islands, and rivers, and 
gulfs, predisposes man to a belief in a multitude of 
divinities. A vast sandy desert, the illimitable ocean, 
impresses him with an idea of the oneness of God. 

Political reasons had led the ^/emperors to look with 
favor on the admixture of -Christianity and paganism, 
and doubtless by this means the bitterness of the rivalry 
between those antagonists was somewhat abated. The 
heaven of the popular, the fashionable Christianity 
was the old Olympus, from which the venerable Greek 
divinities had been removed. There, on a great white 
throne, sat God the Father, on his right the Son, and 
then the blessed Virgin, clad in a golden robe, and 
"covered with various female adornments;" on the 
left sat God the Holy Ghost. Surrounding!^ these 


tlirones were hosts of angels with theii harps. The 
vast expanse beyond was filled with tables, seated at 
which the happy spirits of the just enjoyed a perpetual 

K, satisfied with this picture of happiness, illiterate 
persons never inquired how the details of such a heaven 
were carried out, or how much pleasure there could be 
in the ennui of such an eternally unchanging, unmov- 
ing scene, it was not so with the intelligent. As we are 
soon to see, there were among the higher ecclesiastics 
those who rejected with sentiments of horror these 
carnal, these materialistic conceptions, and raised their 
protesting voices in vindication of the attributes of the 
Omnipresent, the Almighty God. 

In the paganization of religion, now in all directions 
taking place, it became the interest of every bishop to 
procure an adoption of the ideas which, time out of 
mind, had been current in the community under his 
charge. The Egyptians had already thus forced on the 
Church their peculiar Trinitarian views ; and now they 
were resolved that, under the form of the adoration of 
the Yirgin Mary, the worship of Isis should be restored. 

It so happened that Nestor, the Bishop of Antioch, 
who entertained the philosophical views of Theodore 
of Mopsuestia, had been called by the Emperor Theo- 
dosius the Younger to the Episcopate of Constantinople 
(a. d. 427). Nestor rejected the base popular anthro- 
pomorphism, looking upon it as little better than blas- 
phemous, and pictured to himseK an awful eternal Di- 
vinity, who pervaded the universe, and had none of the 
aspects or attributes of man. Nestor was deeply imbued 
with the doctrines of Aristotle, and attempted to co-- 
ordinate them with what he considered to be orthodox 


Cliristian tenets. Between him and Cyril, tlie Bishop 
or Patriarch of Alexandria, a quarrel accordingly arose. 
Cyril represented the paganizing, Nestor the philoso- 
phizing party of the Church. This was that Cyril who 
had murdered Hypatia. Cyril was determined that the 
worship of the Virgin as the Mother of God should be 
recognized, Nestor was determined that it should not. 
In a sermon delivered in the metropolitan church at 
Constantinople, he vindicated the attributes of the Eter- 
nal, the Almighty God. " And can this God have a 
mother?" he exclaimed. In other sermons and writ- 
ings, he set forth with more precision his ideas that 
the Virgin should be considered not as the Mother of 
God, but as the mother of the human portion of Christ, 
that portion being as essentially distinct from the divine 
as is a temple from its contained deity. 

Instigated by the monks of Alexandria, the monks 
of Constantinople took up arms in behaK of "the 
Mother of God." The quarrel rose to such a pitch that 
the emperor was constrained to summon a council to 
meet at Ephesus. In the mean time Cyril had given a 
bribe of many pounds of gold to the chief eunuch of 
the imperial court, and had thereby obtained the influ- 
ence of the emperor's sister. " The holy virgin of the 
court of heaven thus found an ally of her own sex in 
the holy virgin of the emperor's court." Cyril hastened 
to the council, attended by a mob of men and women 
of the baser sort. He at once assumed the presidency, 
and in the midst of a tumult had the emperor's rescript 
read before the Syrian bishops could arrive. A single 
day served to complete his triumph. All offers of ac- 
commodation on the part of Nestor were refused, his 
explanations were not read, he was condemned unheard. 
On the arrival of the Syrian ecclesiastics, a meeting of 


protest was held by them. A riot, with much blood- 
shed, ensued in the cathedral of St. John. Nestor was 
abandoned by the court, and eventually exiled to an 
Egyptian oasis. His persecutors tormented him as 
long as he lived, by every means in their power, and at 
his death gave out that " his blasphemous tongue had 
been devoured by worms, and that from the heats of an 
Egyptian desert he had escaped only into the hotter 
torments of hell I '' 

The overthrow and punishment of Nestor, however, 
by no means destroyed his opinions. He and his fol- 
lowers, insisting on the plain inference of the last verse 
of the first chapter of St. Matthew, together with the 
fifty-fifth and fifty-sixth verses of the thirteenth of the 
same gospel, could never be brought to an acknowledg- 
ment of the perpetual virginity of the new queen of 
heaven. Their philosophical tendencies were soon indi- 
cated by their actions. While their leader was tormented 
in an African oasis, many of them emigrated to the Eu- 
phrates, and established the Chaldean Church. Under 
their auspices the college of Edessa was founded. From 
the college of Nisibis issued those doctors who spread 
Nestor's tenets through Syria, Arabia, India, Tartary, 
China, Egypt. The Nestorians, of course, adopted the 
philosophy of Aristotle, and translated the works of 
that great writer into Syriac and Persian. They also 
made similar translations of later works, such as those 
of Pliny. In connection with the Jews they founded 
the medical college of Djondesabour. Their mission- 
aries disseminated the Nestorianform of Christianity to 
such an extent over Asia, that its worshipers eventually, 
outnumbered aU the European Christians of the Greek 
and Koman Churches combined. It may be particularly 
remarked that in Arabia they had a bishop. 


The dissensions between Constantinople and Alex- 
andria had thus filled all Western Asia with sectaries, 
ferocious in their contests with each other, and many 
of them burning with hatred against the imperial power, 
for the persecutions it had inflicted on them. A reli- 
gious revolution, the consequences of which are felt in 
our own times, was the result. It affected the whole 

We shall gain a clear view of this great event, if we 
consider separately the two acts into which it may be 
decomposed : 1. The temporary overthrow of Asiatic 
Christianity by the Persians ; 2. The decisive and final 
reformation under the Arabians. 

1. It happened (a. d. 590) that, by one of those rev- 
olutions so frequent in Oriental courts, Chosroes, the 
lawful heir to the Persian throne, was compelled to seek 
refuge in the Byzantine Empire, and implore the aid of 
the Emperor Maurice. That aid was cheerfully given. 
A brief and successful campaign restored Chosroes to 
the throne of his ancestors. 

But the glories of this generous campaign could not 
preserve Maurice himself. A mutiny broke out in the 
Koman army, headed by Phocas, a centurion. The 
statues of the emperor were overthrown. The Patriarch 
of Constantinople, having declared that he had assured 
himself of the orthodoxy of Phocas, consecrated him 
emperor. The unfortunate Maurice was dragged from 
a sanctuary, in which he had sought refuge ; his five 
sons were beheaded before his eyes, and then he was 
put to death. His empress was inveigled from the 
chm'ch of St. Sophia, tortured, and with her three young 
daughters beheaded. The adherents of the massacred 
family were pursued with ferocious vindictiveness ; of 
some the eyes were blinded, of others the tongues were 


torn out, or the feet and hands cut off, some were whip- 
ped to death, others were burnt. # 

When the news reached Eome, Pope Gregory re- 
ceived it with exultation, praying that the hands of 
Phocas might be strengthened against all his enemies. 
As an equivalent for this subserviency, he was greeted 
with the title of " Universal Bishop." The cause of his 
action, as well as of that of the Patriarch of Constanti- 
nople, was doubtless the fact that Maurice was suspected 
of Magian tendencies, into which he had been lured by 
the Persians. The mob of Constantinople h%d hooted 
after him in the streets, branding him as a Marcionite, 
a sect which believed in the Magian doctrine of two 
conflicting principles. 

With very different sentiments Chosroes heard of 
the murder of his friend. Phocas had sent him the 
heads of Maurice and his sons. The Persian king 
turned from the ghastly spectacle with horror, and at 
once made ready to avenge the wrongs of his benefactor 
by war. 

The Exarch of Africa, Heraclius, one of the chief 
ofllcers of the state; also received the shocking tidings 
with indignation. He was determined that the impe- 
rial purple should not be usurped by an obscure centu- 
rioiji of disgusting aspect. " The person of this Phocas 
was diminutive and deformed; the closeness of his 
shaggy eyebrows, his red hair, his beardless chin, were 
in keeping with his cheek, disfigured and discolored by 
a formidable scar. Ignorant of letters, of laws, and even 
of arms, he indulged in an ample privilege of lust and 
drunkenness." At first Heraclius refused tribute and 
obedience to him ; then, admonished by age and infirmi- 
ties, he committed the dangerous enterprise of resist- 
ance to his son of the same name. A prosperous voyage 


from Carthage soon brought the younger Heraclius in 
front of Constantinople. The inconstant clergy, senate, 
and people of the city joined him, the usurper was 
seized in his palace and beheaded. 

But the revolution that had taken place in Constan- 
tinople did not arrest the movements of the Persian 
king. His Magian priests had warned him to act inde- 
pendently of the Greeks, whose superstition, they de- 
clared, was devoid of all truth and justice. Chosroes, 
therefore, crossed the Euphrates ; his army was received 
with transport by the Syrian sectaries, insurrections in 
his favor everywhere breaking out. In succession, 
Antioch, Csesarea, Damascus fell ; Jerusalem itself was 
taken by storm ; the sepulchre of Christ, the churches 
of Constantino and of Helena were given to the flames ; 
the Savior's cross was sent aa a trophy to Persia ; the 
churches were rifled of their riches ; the sacred relics, 
collected by superstition, were dispersed. Egypt was in- 
vaded, conquered, and annexed to the Persian Empire ; 
the Patriarch of Alexandria escaped by flight to Cy- 
prus ; the African coast to Tripoli was seized. On the 
north, Asia Minor was subdued, and for ten years the 
Persian forces encamped on the shores of the Bosporus, 
in front of Constantinople. 

In his extremity Heraclius begged for peace. " I 
will never give peace to the Emperor of Eome," replied 
the proud Persian, " tiU he has abjured his crucified 
God, and embraced the worship of the sun." After a 
long delay terms were, however, secured, and the Koman 
Empire was ransomed at the price of '' a thousand talents 
of gold, a thousand talents of silver, a thousand silk 
robes, a thousand horses, and a thousand virgins." 

But Heraclius submitted only for a moment. He 
found means not only to restore his affairs but to retail- 


ate on the Persian Empire. The operations by which 
he achieved this result were worthy of the most brill- 
iant days of Home. 

Though her military renown was thus recovered, 
though her territory was regained, there was something 
that the Koman Empire had irrecoverably lost. Reli- 
gious faith could never be restored. In face of the 
world Magianism had insulted Christianity, by profan- 
ing her most sacred places — ^Bethlehem, Gethsemane, 
Calvary — ^by burning the sepulchre of Christ, by rifling 
and destroying the churches, by scattering to the winds 
priceless relics, by carrying off, with shouts of laughter, 
the cross. 

Miracles had once abounded in Syria, in Egypt, in 
Asia Minor ; there was not a church which had not its 
long catalogue of them. Very often they were displayed 
on xmimportant occasions and in insignificant cases. In 
this supreme moment, when such aid was most urgently 
demanded, not a miracle was worked. 

Amazement filled the Christian populations of the 
East when they witnessed these Persian sacrileges per- 
petrated with impunity. The heavens should have 
rolled asunder, the earth should have opened her 
abysses, the sword of the Almighty should have flashed 
in the sky, the fate of Sennacherib should have been 
repeated. But it was not so. In the land of miracles, 
amazement was followed by consternation — consterna- 
tion died out in disbelief. 

2. But, dreadful as it was, the Persian conquest was 
but a prelude to the great event, the story of which 
we have now to relate — ^the Southern revolt against 
Christianity. Its issue was the loss of nine-tenths of 
her geographical possessions — ^Asia, Africa, and part of 


In the summer of 581 of the Cliristian «ra, there 
came to Bozrah, a town on the confines of Syria, south of 
Damascus, a caravan of camels. It was from Mecca, 
and was laden with the costly products of South Arabia 
— ^Arabia the Happy. The conductor of the caravan, 
one AbouTaleb, and his nephew, a lad of twelve years, 
were hospitably received and entertained at the Nesto- 
rian convent of the town. 

The monks of this convent soon foimd that their 
young visitor, Halibi or Mohammed, was the nephew 
of the guardian of the Caaba, the sacred temple of the 
Arabs. One of them, by name Bahira, spared no 
pains to secure his conversion from the idolatry in 
which ho had been brought up. He found the boy not 
only precociously intelligent, but eagerly desirous of 
information, especially on matters relating to religion. 

In Mohammed's own country the chief object of 
Meccan worship was a black meteoric stone, kept in the 
Caaba, with three hundred and sixty subordinate idols, 
representing the days of the year, as the year was then 

At this time, as we have seen, the Christian Church, 
through the ambition and wickedness of its clergy, had 
been brought into a condition of anarchy. Councils 
had been held on various pretenses, while the real mo- 
tives were concealed. Too often they were scenes of 
violence, bribery, corruption. In the West, such were 
the temptations of riches, luxury, and power, presented 
by the episcopates, that the election of a bishop was 
often disgraced by frightful murders. In the East, in 
consequence of the policy of the court of Constanti- 
nople, the Church had been torn in pieces by contentions 
and schisms. Among a countless host of disputants 
may be mentioned Arians, Basilidians, Carpocratians, 


CoUyridians, Eutychians, Gnostics, Jacobites, Marcion- 
ites, Marionites, Nestorians, SabelKans, Yalentinians. 
Of these, the Marionites regarded the Trinity as consist- 
ing of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Vir- 
gin Mary ; the CoUyridians worshiped the Virgin as a 
divinity, offering her sacrifices of cakes ; the Nestorians, 
as we have seen, denied that God had "a mother." 
They prided themselves on being the inheritors, the 
possessors of the science of old Greece. 

But, though they were irreconcilable in matters of 
faith, there was one point in which aU these sects agreed 
— ^ferocious hatred and persecution of each other. Ara- 
bia, an unconquered land of liberty, stretching from the 
Indian Ocean to the Desert of Syria, gave them all, as 
the tide of fortune successively turned, a refuge. It had 
been so from the old times. Thither, after the Koman 
conquest of Palestine, vast numbers of Jews escaped;* 
thither, immediately after his conversion, St. Paul tells 
the Galatians that he retired. The deserts were now 
filled with Christian anchorites, and among the chief 
tribes of the Arabs many proselytes had been made. 
Here and there churches had been built. The Christian 
princes of Abyssinia, who were Nestorians, held the 
southern province of Arabia — ^Temen — ^in possession. 

By the monk Bahira, in the convent at Bozrah, Mo- 
hammed was taught the tenets of the Nestorians; from 
them the young Arab learned the story of their perse- 
cutions. It was these interviews which engendered in 
him a hatred of the idolatrous practices of the Eastern 
Church, and indeed of all idolatry ; that taught him, in 
liis wonderful career, never to speak of Jesus as the Son 
of God, but always as " Jesus, the son of Mary." His 
untutored but active mind oould not fail to be profound- 
ly impressed not only with the religious but also with 


tlie philosophical ideas of his instructors, who gloried in 
being the hving representatives of Aristotelian science. 
His subsequent career shows how completely their reli- 
gious thoughts had taken possession of him, and repeated 
acts manifest his affectionate regard for them. His 
own life was devoted to the expansion and extension 
of their theological doctrine, and, that once effectually- 
established, his successors energetically adopted and dif- 
fused their scientific, their Aristotelian opinions. 

As Mohammed grew to manhood, he made other 
expeditions to Syria. Perhaps, we may suppose, that 
on these occasions the convent and its hospitable in- 
mates were not forgotten. He had a mysterious rev- 
erence for that country. A wealthy Meccan widow, 
Ohadizah, had intrusted him with the care of her Syrian 
trade. She was charmed with his capacity and fidelity, 
and (since he is said to have been characterized by the 
possession of singular manly beauty and a most courte- 
ous demeanor) charmed with his person. The female 
heart in all ages and countries is the same. She caused 
a slave to intimate to him what was passing in her 
mind, and, for the remaining twenty-four years of her 
life, Mohammed was her faithful husband. In a land 
of polygamy, he never insulted her by the presence of 
a rival. Many years subsequently, in the height of his 
power, Ayesha, who was one of the most beautiful 
women in Arabia, said to him : " "Was she not old ? Did 
not God give you in me a better wife in her place ? " 
" No, by God 1 " exclaimed Mohammed, and with a burst 
of honest gratitude, "there never can be a better. She 
believed in me when men despised me, she relieved me 
when I was poor and persecuted by the world.'' 

His marriage with Chadfeah placed him in circum- 
stances of ease, and gave him an opportunity of indul- 


ging his inclination to religious meditation. It so hap- 
pened that her cousin Waraka, who was a Jew, had 
turned Christian. He was the first to translate the 
Bible into Arabic. By his conversation Mohanuned's 
detestation of idolatry was confirmed. 

After the example of the Christian anchorites in 
their hermitages in the desert, Mohammed retired to 
a grotto in Mount Hera, a few miles from Mecca, giving 
himself up to meditation and prayer. In this seclusion, 
contemplating the awful" attributes of the Omnipotent 
and Eternal God, he addressed to his conscience the 
solemn inquiry, whether he could adopt the dogmas 
then held in Asiatic Christendom respecting the Trin- 
ity, the sonship of Jesus as begotten by the Almighty, 
the character of Mary as at once a virgin, a mother, and 
the queen of heaven, without incurring the guilt and 
the peril of blasphemy. 

' By his* solitary meditations in the grotto Mohammed 
was drawn to the conclusion that, through the cloud of 
dogmas and disputations around him, one great truth 
might be discerned — ^the unity of God. Leaning against 
the stem of a palm-tree, he unfolded his views on this 
subject to his neighbors and friends, and annoimced to 
them that he should dedicate his life to the preaching 
of that truth. Again and again, in his sermons and in 
the Koran, he declared : " I am nothing but a public 
preacher. ... I preach the oneness of God." Such was 
his own conception of his so-called apostleship. Hence- 
forth, to the-day of his death, he -v^re on his finger a 
seal-ring on which was engraved, " Mohammed, the 
messenger of God." 

It is well known among physicians that prolonged 
fasting and mental anxiety inevitably give rise to hal- 
lucination. Perhaps there never has been any religious 


Bjstem introduced by seK-denying, earnest men that did 
not offer examples of supernatural temptations and 
supernatural commands. Mysterious voices encouraged 
the Arabian preacher to persist in his determination; 
shadows of strange forms passed before him. He heard 
sounds in the air like those of a distant bell. In a 
nocturnal dream he was carried by Gabriel from Mecca 
to Jerusalem, and thence in succession through the six 
heavens. Into the seventh the angel feared to intrude, 
and Mohammed alone passed into the dread cloud that 
forever enshrouds the Almighty. " A shiver thrilled 
his heart as he felt upon his shoulder the touch of the 
cold hand of God.'* 

His public ministrations met with much resistance, 
and little success at first. Expelled from Mecca by the 
upholders of the prevalent idolatry, he sought refuge in 
Medina, a town in which there were many Jews and 
Nestorians ; the latter at once became proselytes to his 
faith. He had already been compelled to send his 
daughter and others of his disciples to Abyssinia, the 
king of which was a Nestorian Christian. At the end 
of six years he had made only fifteen hundred converts. 
But in three little skirmishes, magnified in subsequent 
times by the designation of the battles of Beder, of 
Ohud, and of the Nations, Mohammed discovered that 
his most convincing argument was his sword. After- 
ward, with Oriental eloquence, he said, "Paradise will 
be found in the shadow of the crossing of swords." By 
a series of well-coiyiucted military operations, his ene- 
mies were completely overthrown. Arabian idolatry 
was absolutely exterminated ; the doctrine he proclaimed, 
that " there is but one God," was universally adopted 
by his countrymen, and his own apostleship accepted. 

Let us pass over his stormy life,, and hear what he 


gays when, on the pinnacle of earthly power and glory, 
he was approaching its close. 

Steadfast in his declaration of the unity of God, he 
departed from Medina on his last pilgrimage to Mecca, 
at the head of one hmidred and fomieen thousand dev- 
otees, with camels decorated with garlands of flowers 
and fluttering streamers. When he approached the 
holy city, he uttered the solemn invocation : " Here am 
I in thy service, O God 1 Thou hast no companion. 
To thee alone belongeth worship. Thine alone is the 
kingdom. There is none to share it with thee." 

With his own hand he offered up the camels in 
sacrifice. He considered that primeval institution to 
be equally sacred as prayer, and that no reason can be 
alleged in support of the one which is not equally 
strong in support of the other.. 

From the pulpit of the Caaba he reiterated, " O my 
hearers, I am only a man like yourselves." They re- * 
membered that he had once said to one who approached 
him with timid steps : ". Of what dost thou stand in awe ? 
I am no king. I am nothing but the son of an Arab 
woman, who ate flesh dried in the sun." 

He returned to Medina to die. In his farewell 
to his congregation, he said: "Every thing happens 
according to the will of God, and has its appointed 
time, which can neither be hastened nor avoided. I re- 
turn to him who sent me, and my last command to you 
is, that ye love, honor, and uphold each other, that ye 
exhort each other to faith and constancy in belief, and 
to the performance of pious deeds. My life has been 
for your good, and so will be my death." 

In his dying agony, his head was reclined on the lap 
of Ayesha. • From time to time he had dipped his hand 
in a vase of water, and moistened his face. At last he 


ceased, and, gazing steadfastly upward, said, in broken 
accents : " O God — ^forgive my sins — ^be it so. I come.'^ 

Shall we speak of this man with disrespect ? His 
precepts are, at this day, the religions guide of one- 
third of the human race. 

In Mohammed, who had already broken away from 
the ancient idolatrous worship of liis native country, 
preparation had been made for the rejection of those 
tenets which his Nestorian teachers had communicated 
to him, inconsistent with reason and conscience. And, 
though, in the first pages of the Koran, he declares his 
belief in what was delivered to Moses and Jesus, and 
his reverence for them personally, his veneration for 
the Almighty is perpetually displayed. He is horror- 
stricken at the doctrine of the divinity of Jesus, the 
worship of Mary as the mother of God, the adoration 
of images and paintings, in his eyes a base idolatry. 
• He absolutely rejects the Trinity, of which he seems 
to have entertained the idea that it could not be in- 
terpreted otherwise than as presenting three distinct 

His first and ruling idea was simply religious reform 
— to overthrow Arabian idolatry, and put an end to the 
wild sectarianism of Christianity. That he proposed to 
set up a new religion was a calumny invented against 
him in Constantinople, where he was looked upon with 
detestation, like that with which in after ages Luther 
was regarded in Eome. 

But, though he rejected with indignation whatever 
might seem to disparage the doctrine of the unity of 
God, he was not able to emancipate himself from an- 
thropomorphic conceptions. The God of the Koran is 
altogether human, both corporeally and mentally, if such 
expressions may with propriety be used. Yery soon, 


however, the followers of Mohanimed diveste'd them- 
selves of these base ideas and rose to nobler ones. 

The view here presented of the primitive character 
of Mohammedanism has long been adopted by many 
competent authorities. Sir William Jones, following 
Locke, regards the main point in the divergence of Mo- 
hammedanism from Christianity to consist " in denying 
vehemently the character of our Savior as the Son, 
and his equality as God with the Father, of whose 
nnitv and attributes the Mohammedans entertain and 
express the most awful ideas." This opinion has been 
largely entertained in Italy. Dante regarded Moham- 
med only as the author of a schism, and saw in Islam- 
ism only an Arian sect. In England, Whately views it 
as a corruption of Christianity. It was an offshoot of 
Nestorianism, and not until it had overthrown Greek 
Christianity in many great battles, was spreading rapid- 
ly over Asia and Africa, and had become intoxicated 
with its wonderful successes, did it repudiate its primi- 
tive limited intentions, and assert itself to be founded 
on a separate and distinct revelation. 

Mohammed's life had been almost entirely consumed 
in the conversion or conquest of his native country. 
Toward its close, however, he felt himself strong enough 
to threaten the invasion of Syria and Persia. He -had 
made no provision for the perpetuation of his own do- 
minion, and hence it was not without a struggle that 
a successor was appointed. At length Abubeker, the 
father of Ayesha, was selected. He was proclaimed 
the first khalif, or successor of the Prophet. 

There is a very important difference between tho 
spread of Mohammedanism and the spread of Christi- 
anity. The latter was never sufficiently strong to over 
throw and extirpate idolatry in the Eoman Empire. As 


it advanced, there was an amalgamation, a uiion. The 
old f onns of the one were vivified by the new spirit of 
the other, and that paganization to which reference has 
already been made was the result. 

But, in Arabia, Mohammed overthrew and absolute- 
ly annihilated the old idolatry. No trace of it is found 
in the doctrines preached by him and his successors. 
The black stone that had fallen from heaven— the me- 
teorite of the Caaba — ^and its encircling idols, passed 
totally out of view. The essential dogma of the new 
faith — "There is but one God" — spread without any 
adulteration. Military successes had, in a worldly sense, 
made the religion of the Koran profitable ; and, no mat- 
ter what dogmas may be, when that is the case, there 
will be jplenty of converts. 

As to the popular doctrines of Mohammedanism, 
I shall here have nothing to say. The reader who is 
interested in that matter will find an account of them 
in a review of the Koran in the eleveiath chapter of my 
" History of the Intellectual Development of Europe." 
It is enough now to remark that their heaven was ar- 
ranged in seven stories, and was only a palace of Orien- 
tal carnal delight. It was filled with black-eyed concu- 
bines and servants. The form of God was, perhaps, 
more awful than that of paganized Christianity. An- 
thropomorphism will, however, never be obliterated 
from the ideas of the imintellectual. Their God, at 
the best, will never be any thing more than the gigan- 
tic shadow of a man — ^a vast phantom of humanity — 
like one of those Alpine spectres seen in the midst ol 
the clouds by him who turns his back on the sun. 

Abubeker had scarcely seated himself in the khalif 
ate, when he put forth the following proclamation : 

" In the name of the most merciful God ! Abubekei 


to the rest of the true believers, health and happiness. 
The mercy and blessing of God be npon yon. I praise 
the most high God. I pray for his prophet Moham- 

" This is to inform you that I intend to send the 
true believers into Syria, to take it out of the hands of 
the infidels. And I would have you know that the 
fighting for religion is an act of obedience to God." 

On the first encounter, Khaled, the Saracen general, 
hard pressed, lifted up his hands in the midst of his 
army and said : " O God 1 these vile wretches pray with 
idolatrous expressions and take to themselves another 
God besides thee, but we acknowledge thy imity and 
aflSrm that there is no other God but thee alone. Help 
us, we beseech thee, for the sake of thy prophet Mo- 
hammed, against these idolaters." On the part of the 
Saracens the conquest of Syria was conducted with 
ferocious piety. The belief of the Syrian Christians 
aroused in their antagonists sentiments of horror and 
indignation. "I will cleave the skull of any blasphem- 
ing idolater who says that the Most Holy God, the Al- 
mighty and Eternal, has begotten a son." The Khalif 
Omar, who took Jerusalem, commences a letter to He- 
raclius, the Eoman emperor : " In the name of the most 
merciful God 1 Praise be to God, the Lord of this and 
of the other world, who has neither female consort nor 
son." The Saracens nicknamed the Christians " Asso- 
ciators," because they joined Mary and Jesus as part- 
ners with the Almighty and Most Holy God. 

It was not the intention of the khalif to command 
his army; that duty was devolved on Abou Obeidah 
nominally, on Khaled in reality. In a parting review 
the khalif enjoined on his troops justice, mercy, and the 
observance of fidelity in their engagements; he com- 


manded them to abstain from all frivolous conversation 
and from wine, and rigorously to observe the hours of 
prayer; to be kind to the common people among whom 
they passed, but to show no mercy to their priests. 

Eastward of the river Jordan is Bozrah, a strong 
town where Mohammed had first met his Nestorian 
Christian instructors. It was one of the Roman forts 
with which the country was dotted over. Before this 
place the Saracen army encamped. The garrison was 
strong, the ramparts were covered with holy crosses 
and consecrated banners. It might have made a long 
defense. But its governor, Romanus, betrayed his trust, 
and stealthily opened its gates to the besiegers. His 
conduct shows to what a deplorable condition the popu- 
lation of Syria had come. After the surrender, in a 
speech he made to the people he had betrayed, he said : 
" I renounce your society, both in this world and that 
to come. And I deny him that was crucified, and 
whosoever worships him. And I choose God for my 
Lord, Islam for my faith, Mecca for my temple, the 
Moslems for my brethren, Mohammed for my prophet, 
who was sent to lead us in the right way, and to exalt 
the true religion in spite of those who join partners 
with God." Since the Persian invasion, Asia Minor, 
Syria, and even Palestine, were full of traitors and 
apostates, ready to join the Saracens. Romanus was but 
one of many thousands who had fallen into disbelief 
through the victories of the Persians. 

From Bozrah it was only seventy miles northward 
to Damascus, the capital of Syria. Thither, without de- 
lay, the Saracen army marched. The city was at once 
summoned to take its option — conversion, tribute, or the 
sword. In his palace at Antioch, barely one hundred 
and fifty miles still farther north, the Emperor Heraclius 


I'eceived tidings of the alarming advance of his assail- 
ants. He at once dispatched an army of seventy thou- 
sand men. The Saracens were compelled to raise the 
siege. A battle took place in*the plains of Aiznadin, 
the Koman army was overthrown and dispersed. Kha- 
led reappeared before Damascus with his standard of 
the black eagle, and after a renewed investment of sev- 
enty days Damascus surrendered. 

From the Arabian historians of these events we may 
gather that thus far the Saracen. armies were little bet- 
ter than a fanatic mob. Many of the men fought naked. 
It was not imusual for a warrior to stand forth in front 
and challenge an antagonist to mortal duel. Nay, more, 
even the women engaged in the combats. Picturesque 
narratives have been handed down to us relating the 
gallant manner in which they acquitted themselves. 

From Damascus the Saracen army advanced north- 
ward, guided by the snow-clad peaks of libanus and 
the beautiful river Orontes. It captured on its way 
Baalbec, the capital of the Syrian valley, and Emesa, 
the chief city of the eastern plain. To resist its further 
progress, HeracliuQ collected an army of one hundred 
and forty thousand men. A battle took place at Ter- 
muck ; the right wing of the Saracens was broken, but 
the soldiers were driven back to the field by the fanatic 
expostulations of their women. The conflict ended in 
the complete overthrow of the Eoman army. Forty 
thousand were taken prisoners, and a vast number 
killed. The whole country now lay open to the victors. 
Tlie advance of their army had been east of the Jordan. 
It was clear that, before Asia Minor could be touched, 
the strong and important cities of Palestine, which was 
now in their rear, must be secured. There was a dif- 
ference of opinion among the generals in the field as 


to whether Osesarea or Jerusalem should be assailed 
first. The matter was referred to the khalif , who, right- 
ly preferring the moral advantages of the capture of 
Jerusalem to the military advantages of the capture of 
Csesarea, ordered the Holy City to be taken, and that 
at any cost. Close siege was therefore laid to it. The 
inhabitants, remembering the atrocities inflicted by the 
Persians, and the indignities that had been offered to 
the Savior's sepulchre, prepared now for a vigorous 
defense. But, after an investment of four months, the 
Patriarch Sophronius appeared on the wall, asking terms 
of capitulation. Theje had been misunderstandings 
among the generals at the capture of Damascus, fol- 
lowed by a massacre of the fleeing inhabitants. Sophro- 
nius, therefore, stipulated that the surrender of Jeru- 
salem should take place in presence of the khalif himself. 
Accordingly, Omar, the khalif, came from Medina for 
that purpose. He journeyed on a red camel, carrying 
a bag of com and one of dates, a wooden dish, and a 
leathern water-bottle. The Arab conqueror entered the 
Holy City riding by the side of the ChriBtian patriarch, 
and the transference of the capital of Christianity to 
the representative of Mohammedanism was effected 
without tumult or outrage. Having ordered that a 
mosque should be built on the site of the temple of 
Solomon, the khalif returned to the tomb of the Proph- 
et at Medina. 

Heraclius saw plainly that the disasters which were 
fast settling on Christianity were due to the dissensions 
of its conflicting sects ; and hence, while he endeavored 
* to defend the empire with his armies, he sedulously 
tried to compose those differences. With this view ho 
pressed for acceptance the Monothelite doctrine of the 
nature of Christ. But it was now too late. Aleppo and 


Antioch were taken. Nothing could prevent the Sara- 
cens from overrunning Asia Minor. Heraclius himself 
had to seek safety in flight. Syria, which had been 
added by Pompey the Great, the rival of Caesar, to the 
provinces of Rome, seven hundred years previously — 
Syria, the birthplace of Christianity, the scene of its 
most sacred and precious souvenirs, the land from 
which Heraclius himself had once expelled the Persian 
intruder — ^was irretrievably lost. Apostates and traitors 
had wrought this calamity. We are told that, as the 
ship which bore him to Constantinople parted from the 
shore, Heraclius gazed intently on the receding hills, 
and in the bitterness of anguish exclaimed, " Farewell, 
Syria, forever farewell 1'' 

It is needless to dwell on the remaining details of 
the Saracen conquest : how Tripoli and Tyre were be- 
trayed ; how Csesarea was captured ; how with the trees 
of Libanus and the sailors of Phoenicia a Saracen fleet 
was equipped, which drove the Eoman navy into the Hel- 
lespont ; how Cyprus, Rhodes, and the Cyclades, were 
ravaged, and the Colossus, which was counted as one 
of the wonders of the world, sold to a Jew, who loaded 
nine hundred camels with its brass ; how the armies of 
the khalif advanced to the Black Sea, and even lay in 
front of Constantinople — ^aU this was as nothing after 
the fall of Jerusalem. 

The fall of Jerusalem 1 the loss of the metropolis of 
Christianity 1 In the ideas of that age the two antago- 
nistic forms of faith had submitted themselves to the 
ordeal of the judgment of God. Yictory had awarded 
the prize of battle, Jerusalem, to the Mohammedan; 
and, notwithstanding the temporary successes of the 
Crusaders, after much more than a thousand years in his 
hands it remains to this day. The Byzantine historians 


are not without excuse for tlie course they are con- 
demned for taking : " They have wholly neglected the 
great topic of the ruin of the Eastern Church.'' And 
as for the Western Church, even the debased popes of 
the middle ages — ^the ages of the Crusades — could not 
see without indignation that they were compelled to 
rest the claims of Eome bs the metropoHs of Christen- 
dom on a false legendary story of a visit of St. Peter to 
that city ; while the true metropolis, the grand, the 
sacred place of the birth, the life, the death of Christ 
himself, was in the hands of the infidels ! It has not been 
the Byzantine historians alone who have tried to conceal 
this great catastrophe. The Christian writers of Europe 
on all manner of subjects, whether of history, religion, 
or science, have followed a similar course against their 
conquering antagonists. It has been their constant 
practice to hide what they could not depreciate, and de- 
preciate what they could not hide. 

I have not space, nor indeed does it comport with 
the intention of this work, to relate, in such detail as I 
have given to the fall of Jerusalem, other conquests of 
the Saracens — conquests which eventually established a 
Mohammedan empire far exceeding in geographical ex- 
tent that of Alexander, and even that of Rome. But, 
devoting a few words to this subject, it may be said 
that Magianism received a worse blow than that which 
had been inflicted on Christianity. The fate of Persia 
was settled at the battle of Cadesia. At the sack 
of Ctesiphon, the treasury, the royal arms, and an un- 
limited spoil, fell into the hands of the Saracens. Not 
without reason do they call the battle of Nehavend 
"the victory of victories." In one direction they ad- 
vanced to the Caspian, in the other southward along 
the Tigris to Persepolis. The Persian king fled for his 


life over tbe great Salt Desert, from tlie columns and 
statues of that city which had lain in niins since the 
night of the riotous banquet of Alexander. One di- 
vision of the Arabian army forced the Persian monarch 
over the Oxus. He waa assassinated by the Turks. 
His son was driven into China, and became a captain in 
the Chinese emperor's guards. The country beyond the 
Oxus was reduced. It paid a tribute of two million 
pieces of gold. "While the emperor at Peking was de- 
manding the friendship of the khalif at Medina, the 
standard of the Prophet was displayed on the banks of 
the Indus. 

Among the generals who had greatly distinguished 
themselves in the Syrian wars was Amrou, destined to 
be the conqueror of Egypt ; for the khalif s, not content 
with their victories on the North and East, now turned 
their eyes to the West, and prepared for the annexation 
of Africa. As in the former cases, so in this, sectarian 
treason assisted them. The Saracen army was hailed as 
the deliverer of the Jacobite Church ; the Monophysite 
Christians of Egypt, that is, they who, in the language of 
the Athanasian Creed, confounded the substance of the 
Son, proclaimed, through their leader, Mokaukas, that 
they desired no communion with the Greeks, either in 
this world or the next, that they abjured forever the 
•Byzantine tyrant and his synod of Chalcedon. They 
hastened to pay tribute to the khalif, to repair the roads 
and bridges, and to supply provisions and intelligence 
to the invading army. 

Memphis, one of the old Pharaonic capitals, soon 
fell, and Alexandria was invested. The open sea behind 
gave opportunity to Heraclius to reenf orce the garrison 
continually. On his part, Omar, who was now khalif, 
sent to the succor of the besieging army the veteran 


troops of Syria. There were many assaults and many 
sallies. In one Amrou himself was taken prisoner by 
the besieged, but, through the dexterity of a slave, made 
his escape. After a siege of fourteen months, and a loss 
of twenty-three thousand men, the Saracens captured 
the city. In his dispatch to the khalif, Amrou enu- 
merated the splendors of the great city of the "West, 
"its four thousand palaces, four thousand baths, four 
hundred theatres, twelve thousand shops for the sale of 
vegetable food, and forty thousand tributary Jews." 

So fell the second great city of Christendom — ^the 
fate of Jerusalem had fallen on Alexandria, the city of 
Athanasius, and Arius, and Cyril; the city that had 
imposed Trinitarian ideas and Mariolatry on the Church. 
Li his palace at Constantinople Heraclius received the 
fatal tidings. He was overwhelmed with grief. It 
seemed as if his reign was to be disgraced by the down- 
fall of Christianity. He lived scarcely a month after 
the loss of the town. 

But if Alexandria had been essential to Constanti- 
nople in the supply of * orthodox faith, she wafi also 
essential in the supply of daily food. Egypt was the 
granary of the Byzantines. For this reason two at- 
tempts were made by powerful fleets and armies for the 
recovery of the place, and twice had Amrou to renew 
his conquest. He saw with what facility these attacks 
could be made, the place being open to the sea ; he saw 
that there was but one and that a fatal remedy. " By 
the living God, if this thing be repeated a third time, 
I will make Alexandria as open to anybody as is the 
house of a prostitute 1 " He was better than his word, 
for he forthwith dismantled its fortifications, and made 
it an untenable place. 

It was Dot the intention of the khalif s to limit their 


conquest to Egypt. Othman contemplated the annexa- 
tion of the entire North-African coast. His general, 
Abdallah, set out from Memphis with forty thousand 
men, passed through the desert of Barca, and besieged 
Tripoli. But, the plague breaking out in his army, he 
was compelled to retreat to Egypt. 

All attempts were now suspended for more than 
twenty years. Then Akbah forced his way from the 
Nile to the Atlantic Ocean. In front of the Canary 
Islands he rode his horse into the sea, exclaiming: 
" Great God I if my course were not stopped by this- 
sea, I would still go on to the unknown kingdoms of 
the West, preaching the unity of thy holy name, and 
putting to the sword the rebellious nations who worship 
any other gods than thee." 

These Saracen expeditions had been through the' 
interior of the country, for the Byzantine emperors, 
controlling for the time the Mediterranean, had retained 
possession of the cities on the coast. The Khalif 
Abdalmalek at length resolved on the reduction of 
Carthage, the most important of those cities, and in- 
deed the capital -of North Africa. His general, Hassan, 
carried it by escalade ; but reenf orcements from Con- 
stantinople, aided by some Sicilian and Gothic troops, 
compelled him to retreat. The relief was, however, 
only temporary. Hassan, in the course of a few months, 
renewed his attack. It proved successful, and he de- 
livered Carthage to flie flames. 

Jerusalem, Alexandria, Carthage, three out of the 
five great Christian capitals, were lost. The fall of 
Constantinople was only a question of time. After its 
fall, Home alone remained. 

In the development of Christianity, Carthage had 
played no insignificant part. It had given to Europe 


its Latin form of faith, and some of its greatest theo- 
logians. It was the home of St. Augustine. 

Never in the history of the world had there been so 
rapid and extensive a propagation of any religion as Mo- 
hammedanism. It was now dominating from the Altai 
Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean, from the centre of 
Asia to the western verge of Africa. 

The Elalif Alwalid next authorized the invasion of 
Europe, the conquest of Andalusia, or the Kegion of the 
Evening. Musa, his general, found, as had so often been 
the case elsewhere, two effective allies, sectarianism and 
treason — the Archbishop of Toledo and Count Julian the 
Gothic general. Under their lead, in the very crisis of 
the battle of Xeres, a large portion of the army went 
over to the invaders ; the Spanish king was compelled 
* to flee from the field, and in the pursuit he was drowned 
in the waters of the Guadalquivir. 

With great rapidity Tarik, the lieutenant of Musa, 
pushed forward from the battle-field to Toledo, and 
thence northward. On the arrival of Musa the reduc- 
tion of the Spanish peninsula was completed, and the 
wreck of the Gothic army driven beyond the Pyrenees 
into France. Considering the conquest of Spain as only 
the first step in his victories, he annoimced his intention 
of forcing his way into Italy, and preaching the unity 
of God in the Yatican. Thence he would march to 
Constantinople, and, having put an end to the Eoman 
Empire and Christianity, would pass into Asia and lay 
his victorious sword on the footstool of the khalif at 

But this was not to be. Musa, envious of his lieu- 
tenant, Tarik, had treated him with great indignity. 
The friends of Tarik at the court of the khalif found 
means of retaliation. An envoy from Damascus ar- 


rested Musa in Ms camp; he was carried before his 
sovereign, disgraced by a public whipping, and died of 
a broken heart. 

Under other leaders, however, the Saracen conquest 
of France was attempted. In a preliminary campaign 
the country from flie mouth of the Garonne to that of 
the Loire was secured. Then Abderahman, the Saracen 
comjnander, dividing his forces into two columns, wltli 
one on the east passed the Ehone, and laid siege to 
Aries. A Christian army, attempting the relief of the 
place, was defeated with heavy loss. His western col- 
umn, equally successful, passed the Dordogne, defeated 
another Christian army, inflicting on it such dreadful 
loss that, according to its own fugitives, "God alone 
could number the slain." All Central France was now 
overrun; the banks of the Loire were reached; the 
churches and monasteries were despoiled of their treas- 
ures : and the tutelar saints, who had worked so many 
mn^les when there wa. no necessity, were found to 
want the requisite power when it was so greatly needed. 

The progress of the invaders was at length stopped 
by Charles Martel (a. d. Y32). Between Tours and 
Poictiers, a great battle, which lasted seven days, was 
fought. Abderahman was killed, the Saracens retreated, 
and soon afterward were compelled to recross the Py- 

The banks of the Loire, therefore, mark the bound- 
ary of the Mohammedan advance in Western Europe. 
Gibbon, in his narrative of these great events, makes 
this remark: "A victorious line of march had been 
prolonged above a thousand miles from the rock of 
Gibraltar to the banks of the Loire — a repetition of an 
equal space would have carried the Saracens to the con- 
fines of Poland and the Highlands of Scotland." 


It is not necessary for me to add to this sketcli of 
the military diffusion of Mohammedanism, the opera- 
tions of the Saracens on the Mediterranean Sea, their 
conquest of Crete and Sicily, their insult to Kome. It 
will be found, however, that their presence in SicUy 
and the south of Italy exerted a marked influence on 
the intellectual development of Europe. 

Their insult to Home! What could be more hu- 
miliating than the circumstances under which it took 
place (a. d. 846) ? An insignificant Saracen expedition 
entered the Tiber and appeared before the walls of the 
city. Too weak to force an entrance, it insulted and 
plundered the precincts, sacrilegiously violating the 
tombs of St. Peter and St. PauL Had the city itself 
been sacked, the moral efEect could not have been greater. 
From the church of St. Peter its altar of silver was torn 
away and sent to Africa — St. Peter's altar, the very 
emblem of Roman Christianity I 

Constantinople had already been besieged by the Sara- 
cens more than once ; its fall was predestined, and only 
postponed. Home had received the direst insult, the 
greatest loss that could be inflicted upon it ; the venera- 
ble churches of Asia Minor had passed out of existence ; 
no Christian could set his foot in Jerusalem without 
permission ; the Mosque of Omar stood on the site of 
the Temple of Solomon. Among the ruius of Alexan- 
dria the Mosque of Mercy marked the spot where a 
Saracen general, satiated with massacre, had, in con- 
temptuous compassion, spared the fugitive relics of the 
enemies of Mohanmied ; nothing remained of Carthage 
but her blackened ruins. Tho most powerful religious 
empire that the world had ever seen had suddenly come 
into existence. It stretched from the Atlantic Ocean 
to the Chinese Wall, from the shores of the Caspian to 


those of the Indian Ocean, and fet, in one sense, it had 
not reached its culmination. The day was to come 
when it was to expel the successors of the Caesars fropa 
their capital, and hold the peninsula of Greece in sub- 
jection, to dispute with Christianity the empire of Eu- 
rope in the Tery centre of that continent, and in Africa 
to extend its dogmas and faith across bnming deserts 
and through pestilential forests from the Mediterranean 
to regions southward far beyond the equinoctial line. 

But, though Mohammedanism had not reached its 
culmination, the dominion of the khalif s had. Not the 
sword of Charles Martel, but the internal dissension of 
the vast Arabian Empire, was the salvation of Europe. 
Though the Ommiade khalif s were popular in Syria, 
elsewhere they were looked upon as intruders or usurp- 
ers ; flie kindred of the apostle was considered to be the 
rightful representative of his faith. Three parties, dis- 
tinguished by their colors, tore the khalifate asunder 
with their disputes, and disgraced it by flieir atroci- 
ties. The color of the Ommiades was white, that of the 
Eatimites green, that of the Abassides black ; the last 
represented the party of Abbas, the uncle of Mohammed. 
The result of these discords was a tripartite division of 
the Mohammedan Empire in the tenth century into the 
khalif ates of Bagdad, of Cairoan, and of Cordova. Uni- 
ty in Mohammedan political action was at an end, and 
Christendom found its safeguard, not in supernatural 
help, but in the quarrels of the rival potentates. To 
internal animosities foreigti pressures were eventually 
added ; and Arabism, which had done so much for the 
intellectual advancement of the world, came to an end 
when the Turks and the Berbers attained to power. 

The Saracens had become totally regardless of Euro- 
pean opposition — they were wholly taken up with their 


domestic quarrels. Odldej says with truth, in his his- 
tory : " The Saracens had scarce a deputy lieutenant or 
general that would not have thought it the greatest 
aflEront, and such as ought to stigmatize him with indel- 
ible disgrace, if he should have suffered himself to have 
been insulted by the united forces of all Europe. And 
if any one asks why the Greeks did not exert tliem- 
selTes more, in order to the extirpation of these inso- 
lent invaders, it is a sufficient answer to any person that 
is acquainted with the characters of those men to say 
that Amrou kept his residence at Alexandria, and Moa- 
wyah at Damascus." 

As to their contempt, this instance may suffice : Ni- 
cephorus, the Koman emperor, had sent to the Kialif 
Haroun-al-Kaschid a threatening letter, and this was the 
reply : " In the name of the most merciful God, Haroun- 
al-Easchid, commander of the faithful, to Nicephorus, 
the Koman dog ! I have read thy letter, O thou son 
of an unbelieving mother. Thou shalt not hear, thou 
shalt behold my reply I " It was written in letters of 
blood and fire on the plains of Phrygia. 

A nation may recover the confiscation of its prov- 
inces, the confiscation of its wealth ; it may survive the 
imposition of enormous war-fines ; but it never can re- 
cover from that most frightful of all war-acts, the con- 
fiscation of its women. When Abou Obeidah sent to 
Omar news of his capture of Antioch, Omar gently up- 
braided him that he had not let the troops have the 
women. " If they want to marry in Syria, let them ; 
and let them have as many female slaves as they have 
occasion for." It was the institution of polygamy, based 
upon tiie confiscation of the women in the vanquished 
countries, that secured forever the Mohammedan rule. 
The children of these unions gloried in their descent 


from their conquering fathers. No better proof can be 
given of the efficacy of this policy than that which is 
furnished by North Africa. The irresistible effect of 
polygamy in consolidating the new order of things was 
very striking. In little more than a single generation, 
the khalif was informed by his officers that the tribute 
must cease, for all the children bom in that region were 
Mohammedans, and all spoke Arabic. 

Mohammedanism, as left by its founder, was an an- 
thropomorphic religion. Its God was only a gigantic 
man, its heaven a mansion of carnal pleasures. From 
these imperfect ideas its more intelligent classes very 
soon freed themselves, substituting for them others 
more philosophical, more correct. Eventually they at- 
tained to an accordance with those that have been pro- 
nounced in our own times by the Vatican Council as 
orthodox. Thus Al-Gazzali says : " A knowledge of 
God cannot be obtained by means of the knowledge a 
man has of himself, or of his own soul. The attributes 
of God cannot be determined from the attributes of 
man. TTia sovereignty and government can neither be 
compared nor measured." 



By tJie inflttence of the Nestoriana and Jews^ (he Arabians are turned io 
the cuUivaiion of Science. — They modify their views as to the destiny 
of man, and obtain true conceptioiis respecting the structure of the 
world. — They ascertain the size of the earthy and determine its shape. 
— Their khalifs eoUect great libraries^ patronize every department of 
science and literature^ establish astronomical observatories. — They 
develop the mathematical sciences^ invent algebra^ and improve geom- 
etry and trigonometry. — They coUeet and translate the old Oreek 
mathematical and astronomical worJcSy and adopt the indttctive method 
of Aristotle. — They establish many colleges, and, with the aid of the 
Nestorians, organize a public-school system. — They introduce the Ara- 
bie numerals and arithmetic, and catalogue and give names to the 
stars. — Th^ lay the foundation of modem astronomy, chemistry, and 
physics, and introduce great improvements in agriculture and manu- 

" In the course of my long life," said the Khalif Ali, 
" I have often observed that men are more like the times 
they live in than they are like flieir fathers." This pro- 
f oimdly philosophical remark of the son-in-law of Mo- 
hammed is strictly true ; for, though the personal, the 
bodily lineaments of a man may indicate his parentage, 
the constitution of his mind, and therefore the direction 
of his thoughts, is determined by the environment in 
which he lives. 

When Amrou, the lieutenant of the Khalif Omar, 
conquered Egypt, and annexed it to the Saracenic Em- 


pire, he found in Alexandria a Greek grammarian, John 
sumamed Philoponns, or the Labor-lover. Presuming 
on the friendship which had arisen between them, the 
Greek solicited as a gift the remnant of the great libra- 
ry — a remnant which war and time and bigotry had 
spared. Amrou, therefore, sent to the khalif to ascer- 
tain his pleasure. " If," replied the khalif, " the books 
agree with the Koran, the Word of God, they are use- 
less, and need not be preserved ; if they disagree with it, 
they are pernicious. Let them be destroyed." Accord- 
ingly, they were distributed among the baths of Alex- 
andria, and it is said that six months were barely suffi- 
cient to consume them. 

Although the fact has been denied, there can be little 
doubt that Omar gave this order. The khalif was an 
illiterate man ; his environment was an environment of 
fanaticism and ignorance. Omar's act was an illustra- 
tion of All's remark. 

But it must not be supposed that the books which 
John the Labor-lover coveted were those which con- 
stituted the great library of the Ptolemies, and that of 
Eumenes, King of Pergamus. Nearly a thousand years 
had elapsed since Philadelphus began his collection. 
Julius Caesar had burnt more than half ; the Patriarchs 
of Alexandria had not only permitted but superintended 
the dispersion of almost all the rest. Orosius expressly 
states that he saw the empty cases or shelves of the library 
twenty years after TheophUus, the uncle of St. Cyril, 
had procured from the Emperor Theodosius a rescript 
for its destruction. Even had this once noble collection 
never endured such acts of violence, the mere wear and 
tear, and perhaps, I may add, the pilfering of a thousand 
years, would have diminished it sadly. Though John, 
as the surname he received indicates, might rejoice in 


a superfluity of occupation, we may be certain that the 
care of a library of half a million books would tran- 
scend even his well-tried powers; and the cost of pre- 
serving and supporting it, that had demanded the ample 
resources of the Ptolemies and the Caesars, was beyond 
the means of a grammarian. Nor is the time required 
for its combustion or destruction any indication of the 
extent of the collection. Of all articles of fuel, parch- 
ment is, perhaps, the most wretched. Paper and papy- 
rus do excellently well as kindling-materials, but we 
may be sure that the bath-men of Alexandria did not 
resort to parchment so long as they could find any thing 
else, and of parchment a very large portion of these 
books was composed. 

There can, then, be no more doubt that Omar did 
order the destruction of this library, under an impres- 
sion of its uselessness or its irreligious tendency, than 
that the Crusaders burnt the library of Tripoli, fanci- 
fully said to have consisted of three million volumes. 
The first apartment entered being found to contain 
nothing but the Koran, all the other books were sup- 
posed to be the works of the Arabian impostor, and 
were consequently committed to the fiames. In both 
cases the story contains some truth and much exaggera- 
tion. Bigotry, however, has often distinguished itself 
by such exploits. The Spaniards burnt in Mexico vast 
piles of American picture-writings, an irretrievable loss; 
and Cardinal Ximenes delivered to the fiames, in the 
squares of Granada, eighty thousand Arabic manu- 
scripts, many of them translations of classical au- 

We have seen how engineering talent, stimulated by 
Alexander's Persian campaign, led to a wonderful de* 
velopment of pure science under the Ptolemies ; a simi 


lar effect may be noted as the result of the Saracenic 
mUitary operations. 

The friendship contracted by Amrou, the conqueror 
of Egypt, with John the Grammarian, indicates how 
much the Arabian mind was predisposed to liberal 
ideas. Its step from the idolatry of the Caaba to the 
monotheism of Mohammed prepared it to expatiate in 
the wide and pleasing fields of literature and philosophy. 
There were two influences to which it was continually ex- 
posed. They conspired in determining its path. These 
were — 1. That of the Nestorians in Syria ; 2. That of 
the Jews in Egypt. 

In the last chapter I have briefly related the per- 
secution of Nestor and his disciples. They bore testi- 
mony to the oneness of God, through many sufferings 
and martyrdoms. They utterly repudiated an Olympus 
fiUed with gods and goddesses. "Away from ub a 
queen of heaven 1 " 

Such being their special views, the Nestorians found 
no difficulty in affiliating with their Saracen conquerors, 
by whom they were treated not only with the highest 
respect, but intrusted with some of the most important 
offices of the state. Mohammed, in the strongest man- 
ner, prohibited his followers from conmiitting any in- 
juries against them. Jesuiabbas, their pontiff, concluded 
treaties both with the Prophet and with Omar, and sub- 
sequently the Khalif Haroun-al-Easchid placed all his 
public schools under the superintendence of John Masue, 
a Nestorian. 

To the influence of the Nestorians that of the Jews 
was adde(l. When Christianity displayed a tendency to 
unite itseK with paganism, the conversion of the Jews 
was arrested ; it totally ceased when Trinitarian ideas 
were introduced. The cities of Syria and Egypt were 


full of Jews. In Alexandria alone, at the time of its 
capture by Amrou, fliere were forty thousand who paid 
tribute. Centuries of misfortune and persecution had 
served only to confirm them in their monotheism, and 
to strengthen that implacable hatred of idolatry which 
they had cherished ever since the Babylonian captivity. 
Associated with the Nestorians, they translated into 
Syriac many Greek and Latin philosophical works, which 
were retranslated into Arabic. While the Nestorian 
was occupied with the education of the children of the 
great Mohammedan families, the Jew found his way 
into them in the character of a physician. 

Under these influences the ferocious fanaticism ot 
the Saracens abated, their manners were polished, their 
thoughts elevated. They overrail the reahns of Philos- 
ophy and Science as quickly as they had overrun the 
provinces of the Roman Empire. They abandoned the 
fallacies of vulgar Mohammedanism, accepting in their 
stead scientific truth. 

In a world devoted to idolatry, the sword of the 
Saracen had vindicated the majesty of God. The doc- 
trine of fatalism, inculcated by the Koran, had power- 
fully contributed to that result. " No man can antici- 
pate or postpone his predetermined end. Death will 
overtake us even in lofty towers. From the beginning 
God hath settled the place in which each man shall die." 
In his figurative language the Arab said : " No man can 
by flight escape his fate. The Destinies ride their 
horses by night. . . . Whether asleep in bed or in the 
storm of battle, the angel of death will find thee." "I 
am convinced," said AJi, to whose wisdom we have al- 
ready referred — " I am convinced that the affairs of men 
go by divine decree, and not by our administration." 
TheMussulmen are those who submissively resign them- 


selves to the will of God. They reconciled fate and 
free-will by saying, " The outline is given ns, we color 
the picture of life as we will." They said that, if we 
would overcome the laws of Nature, we must not resist, 
we must balance them against each other. 

. This dark doctrine prepared its devotees for the ac- 
complishment of great things — ^things such as the Sara- 
cens did accomplish. It converted despair into resigna- 
tion, and taught men to disdain hope. There was a 
proverb among them that " Despair is a freeman, Hope 
is a slave." 

But many of the incidents of war showed plainly 
that medicines may assuage pain, that skill may close 
wounds, that those who are incontestably dying may be 
snatched from the grave. The Jewish physician became 
a living, an accepted protest against the fatalism of the 
Koran. By degrees the sternness of predestination was 
mitigated, and it was admitted that in individual life 
there is an effect due to free-will; that by his voluntary 
acts man may within certain limits determine his own 
course. But, so far as nations are concerned, since they 
can yield no personal accountability to God, they are 
placed under the control of immutable law. 

In this respect the contrast between the Christian 
and the Mohammedan nations was very striking : The 
Christian was convinced of incessant providential inter- 
ventions ; he believed that there was no such thing as 
law in the government of the world. By prayers and 
entreaties he might prevail with God to change the cur- 
rent of affairs, or, if that failed, he might succeed with 
Christ, or perhaps with the Virgin Mary, or through 
the intercession of the saints, or by the influence of 
their relics or bones. If his own supplications were un- 
availing, he might obtain his desire through the inter- 


vention of his priest, or througli that of the holy men 
of the Church, and especially if oblations or gifts of 
money were added. Christendom believed that she 
could change the course of affairs by influencing the con- 
duct of superior beings. Islam rested in a pious resig- 
nation to the unchangeable will of God. The prayer of 
the Christian was mainly an earnest intercession for 
benefits hoped for, that of the Saracen a devout expres- 
sion of gratitude for the past. Both substituted prayer 
for the ecstatic meditation of India. To the Christian 
the progress of the world was an exhibition of discon- 
nected impulses, of sudden surprises. To the Moham- 
medan that progress presented a very different aspect. 
Every corporeal motion was due to some preceding mo- 
tion ; every thought to some preceding thought ; every 
historical event was the offspring of some preceding 
event ; every human action was the result of some fore- 
gone and accomplished action. In the long annals of 
our race, nothing has ever been abruptly introduced. 
There has beien an orderly, an inevitable sequence from 
event to event. There is an iron chain of destiny, of 
which the links are facts ; each stands in its preordained 
place — ^not one has ever been disturbed, not one has 
ever been removed. Every man came into the world 
without his own knowledge, he is to depart from it per- 
haps against his own wishes. Then let him calmly fold 
his hands, and expect the issues of fate. 

Coincidently with this change of opinion as to the 
government of individual life, there came a change as 
respects the mechanical construction of the world. Ac- 
cording to the Koran, the earth is a square plane, edged 
with vast mountains, which serve the double purpose 
of balancing it in its seat, and of sustaining the dome 
of the sky. Our devout admiration of the power and 


wisdom of God should be excited by the spectacle of 
this vast crystalliiie brittle expanse, which has been safe- 
ly set in its position without so much as a crack or any 
other injury. Above the sky, and resting on it, is 
heaven, built in seven stories, the uppermost being the 
habitation of God, who, under the form of a gigantic 
man, sits on a throne, having on either side winged 
bulls, like fliose in the palaces of old Assyrian kings. 

These ideas, which indeed are not peculiar to Mo- 
hammedanism, but are entertained by all men in a 
certain stage of their intellectual development as re- 
ligious revelations, were very quickly exchanged by 
the more advanced Mohammedans for others scientifi- 
cally correct. Yet, as has been the case in Christian 
countries, the advance was not made without resistance 
on the part of the defenders of revealed truth. Thus 
when Al-Mamun, having become acquainted with the 
globular form of the earth, gave orders to his mathema- 
ticians and astronomers to measure a degree of a great 
circle upon it, Takyuddin, one of the most celebrated 
doctors of divinity of that time, denounced the wicked 
khalif , declaring that God would assuredly punish him 
for presumptuously interrupting the devotions of the 
faithful by encouraging and diflEusing a false and atheis- 
tical philosophy among them. Al-Mamun, however, per- 
sisted. On the shores of the Eed Sea, in the plains of 
Shinar, by the aid of an astrolabe, the elevation of the 
pole above the horizon was determined at two stations 
on the same meridian, exactly one degree apart. The 
distance between the two stations was then measured, 
and found to be two hundred thousand Hashemite 
cubits; this gave for the entire circumference of the 
earth about twenty-four thousand of our miles, a deter- 
mination not far from the truth. But, since the spheri- 


cal form could not be positively asserted from one such 
measurement, the khalif caused another to be made near 
Guf a in Mesopotamia. Bis astronomers divided them- 
selves into two parties, and, starting from a given point, 
each party measured an arc of one degree, the one 
northward, the other southward. Their result is given 
in cubits. If the cubit employed was that known as the 
royal cubit, the length of a degree was ascertained with- 
in one-third of a mile of its true value. From these 
measures the khalif concluded that the globular form 
was established. 

It is remarkable how quickly the ferocious fanati- 
cism of the Saracens was transformed into a passion for 
intellectual pursuits. At first the Koran was an obstacle 
to literature and science. Mohammed had extoUed it as 
the grandest of ail compositions, and had adduced its un- 
approachable excellence as a proof of his divine mission. 
But, in little more than twenty years after his death, the 
experience that had been acquired in Syria, Persia, Asia 
Minor, Egypt, had produced a striking effect, and Ali, 
the khalif reigning at that time, avowedly encouraged 
all kinds of literary pursuits. Moawyah, the founder 
of the Ommiade dynasty, who followed in 661, revolu- 
tionized the government. It had been elective, he made 
it hereditary. He removed its seat from Medina to a 
more central position at Damascus, and entered on a 
career of luxury and magnificence. He broke the bonds 
of a stem fanaticism, and put himself forth as a culti- 
vator and patron of letters. Thirty years had wrought 
a wonderful change. A Persian satrap who had occa- 
sion to pay homage to Omar, the second khalif, found 
him asleep among the beggars on the steps of the 
Mosque of Medina ; but foreign envoys who had occasion 
to seek Moawyah, the sixth khalif, were presented to him 


in a magnificent j)alace, decorated with exquisite ara- 
besques, and adorned with flower-gardens and fountains. 

In less than a century after the death of Mohammed, 
translations of the chief Greek philosophical authors had 
been made into Arabic ; poems such as the " Hiad " and 
the « Odyssey," being considered to have an irreUgious 
tendency from their mythological allusions, were ren- 
dered into Syriac, to gratify the curiosity of the learned. 
Almansor, during his khalifate (a. d. 753-775), trans- 
ferred the seat of government to Bagdad, which he con- 
verted into a splendid metropolis ; he gave much of his 
time to the study and promotion of astronomy, and 
established schools of medicine and law. His grand- 
son, Haroun-al-Easchid (a. d. 786), followed his example, 
and ordered that to every mosque in his dominions a 
school should be attached. But the Augustan age of 
Asiatic learning was during the khalifate of Al-Mamun 
(a. d. 813-832). He made Bagdad the centre of science, 
collected great hbraries, and surrounded himseK with 
learned men. 

The elevated taste thus cultivated continued after 
the division of the Saracen Empire by internal dissen- 
sions into three parts. The Abasside dynasty in Asia, 
the Fatimite in Egypt, and the Ommiade in Spain, be- 
came rivals not merely in politics, but also* in letters 
and science. 

In letters the Saracens embraced every topic that 
can amuse or edify the mind. In later times, it was 
their boast that they had produced more poets than all 
other nations combined. In science their great merit 
consists in this, that they cultivated it after the manner 
of the Alexandrian Greeks, not after the manner of the 
European Greeks. They perceived that it can nevei 
be advanced by mere speculation ; its only sure progress 


is by the practical interrogation of Nature. The essen- 
tial characteristics of their method are experiment and 
observation. Geometry and the mathematicp.1 sciences 
they looked npon as instruments of reasoning. In their 
numerous writings on mechanics, hydrostatics, optics, 
it is interesting to remark that the solution of a problem 
is always obtained by performing an experiment, or by 
an instrumental observation. It was this that made 
them the originators of chemistry, that led them to the 
invention of all kinds of apparatus for distillation, sub- 
limation, fusion, filtration, etc. ; that in astronomy caused 
them to appeal to divided instruments, as quadrants and 
astrolabes; in chemistry, to employ the balance, the 
theory of which they were perfectly familiar with ; to 
construct tables of specific gravities and astronomical 
tables, as those of Bagdad, Spain, Samarcand ; that pro- 
duced their great improvements in geometry, trigonom- 
etry, the invention of algebra, and the adoption of the 
Indian numeration in arithmetic. Such were the results 
of their preference of the inductive method of Aristotle, 
their declining the reveries of Plato. 

For the establishment and extension of the public 
libraries, books were sedulously collected. Thus the 
Khalif Al-Mamun is reported to have brought into 
Bagdad hundreds of camel-loads of manuscripts. In a 
treaty he made with the Greek emperor, Michael III., 
he stipulated that one of the Constantinople libraries 
should be given up to him. Among the treasures he 
thus acquired was the treatise of Ptolemy on the mathe- 
matical construction of the heavens. He had it forth- 
with translated into Arabic, under the title of "Al- 
magest." The collections thus acquired sometimes 
became very large; thus the Fatimite Library at Cairo 
contained one hundred thousand volumes, elegantly tran- 


Bcribed and bound. Among these, there were six thou- 
sand five hundred manuscripts, on astronomy and medi- 
cine alone. The rules of this library permitted the 
lending out of books to students resident at Cairo. It 
also contained two globes, one of massive silver and one 
of brass ; the latter was said to have been constructed by 
Ptolemy, the former cost three thousand golden crowns. 
The great library of the Spanish khalife eventually 
numbered six hundred thousand volumes ; its catalogue 
alone occupied forty-four. Besides this, there were 
seventy pubhc libraries in Andalusia. The collections 
in the possession of individuals were sometimes very 
extensive. A private doctor refused the invitation of a 
Sultan of Bokhara because the carriage of his books 
would have required four hundred camels. 

There was in every great library a department for 
the copying or manufacture of translations. Such manu- 
factures were also often an affair of private enterprise. 
Honian, a Nestorian physician, had an establishment of 
the kind at Bagdad (a. d. 850). He issued versions of 
Aristotle, Plato, Hippocrates, Galen, etc. As to ori- 
ginal works, it was the custom of the authorities of col- 
leges to require their professors to prepare treatises on 
prescribed topics. Every khalif had his own historian. 
Books of romances and tales, such as " The Thousand 
and One Arabian Nights' Entertainments," bear testi- 
mony to the creative fancy of the Saracens. Besides 
these, there were works on all kinds of subjects — ^his- 
tory, jurisprudence, politics, philosophy, biographies not 
only of illustrious men, but also of celebrated horses 
and camels. These were issued without any censorship 
or restraint, though, in later times, works on theology 
required a licexise for publication. Books of reference 
abounded, geographical, statistical, medical, historical 


dictionaries, and even abridgments or condensations 
of them, as the " Encyclopedic Dictionary of all the 
Sciences," by Mohammed Abu AbdaUah. Much pride 
was taken in the purity and whiteness of the paper, in 
th^ skiUful intermixture of variously-colored inks, and 
in the illumination of titles by gilding and other adorn- 

The Saracen Empire was dotted all over with col- 
leges. They were established in Mongolia, Tartary, 
Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt, North Africa, 
Morocco, Fez, Spain. At one extremity of this vast 
region, which far exceeded the Koman Empire in geo- 
graphical extent, were the college and astronomical ob- 
servatory of Samarcand, at the other the Giralda in 
Spain. Gibbon, referring to this patronage of learn- 
ing, says : " The same royal prerogative was claimed by 
the independent emirs of the provinces, and their emu- 
lation diffused the taste and the rewards of science from 
Samarcand and Bokhara to Fez and Cordova. The 
vizier of a sultan consecrated a sum of two hundred 
thousand pieces of gold to the foundation of a college 
at Bagdad, which he endowed with an annual revenue 
of fifteen thousand dinars. The fruits of instruction 
were communicated, perhaps, at different times, to six 
thousand disciples of every degree, from the son of the 
noble to that of the mechanic; a sufficient allowance 
was provided for the indigent scholars, and the merit or 
industry of the professors was repaid with adequate sti- 
pends. In every city the productions of Arabic litera- 
ture were copied and collected, by the curiosity of the 
studious and the vanity of the rich." The superintend- 
ence of these schools was committed with noble liberal- 
ity sometimes to Nestorians, sometime^ to Jews. It 
mattered not in what country a man was bom, nor what 


were his religions opinions ; his attainment in learning 
was the only thing to be considered. The great Khalif 
Al-Mamnn had declared that " they are the elect of 
God, his best and most nseful servants, whose lives are 
devoted to the improvement of their rational faculties ; 
that the teachers of wisdom are the true luminaries and 
legislators of this world, which, without their aid, would 
again sink into ignorance and barbarism." 

After the example of the medical college of Cairo, 
other medical colleges require^ their students to pass a 
rigid examination. The candidate then received au- 
thority to enter on the practice of his profession. The 
first medical college established in Europe was that 
founded by the Saracens at Salerno, in Italy. The first 
astronomical observatory was that erected by them at 
Seville, in Spain. 

It would far transcend the limits of this book to give 
an adequate statement of the results of this imposing 
scientific movement. The ancient sciences were greatly 
extended — ^new ones were brought into existence. The 
Indian method of arithmetic was introduced, a beautiful 
invention, which expresses all numbers by ten charac- 
ters, giving them an absolute value, and a value by posi- 
tion, and furnishing simple rules for the easy perform- 
ance of all kinds of calculations. Algebra, or universal 
arithmetic — the method of calculating indeterminate 
quantities, or investigating the relations that subsist 
among quantities of all kinds, whether arithmetical or 
geometrical — ^was developed from the germ that Dio- 
phantus had left. Mohammed Ben Musa furnished 
the solution of quadratic equations, Omar Ben Ibra- 
him that of cubic equations. The Saracens also gave 
to trigonometry its modem form, substituting sines for 
chords, which had been previously used ; they elevated 


it into a separate science. Mnsa, above mentioned, was 
the author of a " Treatise on Spherical Trigonometry." 
Al-Baghadadi left one on land-surveying, so excellent, 
that by some it has been declared to be a copy of Eu- 
clid's lost work on that subject. 

In astronomy, they not only made catalogues, but 
maps of the stars visible in their skies, giving to those of 
the larger magnitudes the Arabic names they still bear 
on our celestial globes. They ascertained, as we have 
seen, the size of the eartl^by the measurement of a de- 
gree on her surface, determined the obliquity of the 
ecliptic, published corrected tables of the sun and moon, 
fixed the length' of the year, verified the precession of 
the equinoxes. The treatise of Albategniufl on " The 
Science of the Stars '* is spoken of by Laplace with re- 
spect ; he also draws attention to an important fragment 
of Ibn-Junis, the astronomer of Hakem, the Ehalif of 
Egypt, A. D. 1000, as containing a long series of obser- 
vations from the time of Almansor, of eclipses, equi- 
noxes, solstices, conjunctions of planets, occultations of 
stars — observations which have cast much light on the 
great variations of the system of the world. The Ara- 
bian astronomers* also devoted themselves to the con- 
struction and perfection of astronomical instruments, to 
the measurement of time by clocks of various kinds, by 
clepqrdras and sun-dials. They were the first to intro- 
duce, for this purpose, the use of the ^ndulum. 

In the experimental sciences, they originated chem- 
istry ; they discovered some of its most important re- 
agents — sulphuric acid, nitric acid, alcohoL They ap- 
plied that science in the practice of medicine, being the 
first to publish pharmacopoeias or dispensatories, and to 
include in them mineral preparations. In mechanics, 
they had determined the laws of falling bodies, had 


ideas, by no means indistinct, of the nature of gravity ; 
they were familiar with the theory of the mechanical 
powers. In hydrostatics they constructed the first tables 
of the specific gravities of bodies, and wrote treatises on 
the flotation and sinking of bodies in water. In optics, 
they corrected the Greek misconception, that a ray pro- 
ceeds from the eye, and touches the object seen, intro- 
ducing the hypothesis that the ray passes from the ob- 
ject to the eye. They understood the phenomena of 
the reflection and refraction of light. Alhazen made 
the great discovery of the curvilinear path of a ray ot 
light through the atmosphere, and proved that we see 
the sun and moon before they have risen, and after they 
have set. 

The effects of this scientific activity are plainly per- 
ceived in the great improvements that took place in 
many of the industrial arts. Agriculture shows it in 
better methods of irrigation, the skillful employment 
of manures, the raising of improved breeds of cattle, 
the enactment of wise codes of rural laws, the introduc- 
tion of the culture of rice, and that of sugar and coffee. 
The manufactures show it in the great extension of the 
industries of silk, cotton, wool; in the fabrication of 
Cordova and morocco leather, and paper; in mining, 
casting, and various metaUurgic operations ; in the mak- 
ing of Toledo blades. 

Passionate lovers of poetry and music, they dedicated 
much of their leisure time to those elegant pursuits. 
They taught Europe the game of chess ; they gave it its 
taste for works of fiction — ^romances and novels. In the 
graver domains of literature they took delight : they had 
many admirable compositions on such subjects as the 
instability of human greatness; the consequences of irre- 
ligion ; the reverses of fortune ; the origin, duration, 


and end of the world. Sometimes, not without sur- 
prise, we meet with ideas which we flatter ourselves 
have originated in our own times. Thus our modem 
doctrines of evolution and development were taught in 
their schools. In fact, they carried them much farther 
than we are disposed to do, extending them even to in- 
organic or mineral things. The fundamental principle 
of alchemy was the natural process of development of 
metalline bodies. "When conamon people," says Al- 
Khazini, writing in the tweMth century, "hear from 
natural philosophers that gold is a body which has at- 
tained to perfection of maturity, to the goal of com- 
pleteness, they firmly believe that it is something which 
has gradually come to that perfection by passing through 
the forms of all other metallic bodies, so that its gold 
nature was originally lead, afterward it became tin, 
then brass, then sQver, and finally reached the develop- 
ment of gold ; not knowing that the natural philoso- 
phers mean, in saying this, only something like what 
they mean when they speak of man, and attribute to 
him a completeness and equilibrium in nature and con- 
stitution — ^not that man was once a bull, and was changed 
into an ass, and afterward into a horse, and after that 
into an ape, and finally became a man." 



Suropean ideas respecting the sovl. — It resembles the form of the body, 

Philasophical views of the Orientals. — The Vedic theology and Btiddhism 
assert the doctrine of emanation and absorption, — It is advocated by 
Aristotle, toho is followed by the Alexandrian school, and subsequently 
by the Jews and Arabians, — It is found in the writings of Erigena, 

Connection of this doctrine with the theory of conservation and correlation 
of force, — Parallel between the origin and destiny of the body and the 
soul, — TTie necessity of foimding human on comparcUive psychology, 

Averroism, which is based on these facts, is brought into Christendom 
through Spain and Sicily, 

History of the repression of Averroism. — RevoU of Islam against it. — 
Antagonism of the Jewish synagogues, — Its destruction undertaken 
by the papacy. — Institution of the Inquisition in Spain.— Frightful 
persecutions and their results. — Expulsion of the Jews and Moors. — 
Overthrow of Averroism in Europe. — Decisive action of the late Vati' 
can CoimcU, 

The pagan Greeks and Komans believed that the 
spirit of man resembles his bodily form, varying its 
appearance with his variations, and growing with his 
growth. Heroes, to whom it had been permitted to de- 
scend into Hades, had therefore without difficulty recog- 
nized their former friends. Not only had the corporeal 
aspect been retained, but even the customary raiment. 

The primitive Christians, whose conceptions of a 
future life and of heaven and hell, the abodes of the 

120 THE SOUL. 

blessed and the sinful, were far more vivid tlian those 
of their pagan predecessors, accepted and intensified 
these ancient ideas. They did not doubt that in the 
world to come they should meet their friends, and hold 
converse with them, as they had done here upon earth 
— an expectation that gives consolation to the human 
heart, reconciling it to* the most sorrowful bereave- 
ments, and restoring to it its dead. 

In the uncertainty as to what becomes of the soul 
in the interval between its separation from the body 
and the judgment-day, many different opinions were 
held. Some thought that it hovered over the grave, 
some that it wandered disconsolate through the air. 
In the popular belief, St. Peter sat as a door-keeper at 
the gate of heaven. To him it had been given to bind 
or to loose. He admitted or excluded the spirits of 
men at his pleasure. Many persons, however, were dis- 
posed to deny him this power, since his decisions would 
be anticipatory of the judgment-day, which would thus 
be rendered needless. After the time of Gregory the 
Great, the doctrine of purgatory met with general ac- 
ceptance. A resting-place was provided for departed 

That the spirits of the dead occasionally revisit the 
living, or haxmt their former abodes, has been in all 
ages, in all European countries, a fixed belief, not con- 
fined to rustics, but participated in by the intelligent. A 
pleasing terror gathers round the winter's-evening fire- 
side at the stories of apparitions, goblins, ghosts. In 
the old times the Komans had their lares, or spirits of 
those who had led virtuous lives; their larvae or lemures, 
the spirits of the wicked ; their manes, the spirits of 
those of whom the merits were doubtful. If human 
testimony on such subjects can be of any value, there is 


a body of evidence reacHng from tlie remotest ages to 
the present time, as extensive and nnimpeacliable as is 
to be found in support of any thing whatever, that these 
shades of the dead congregate near tombstones, or take 
up their secret abode in the gloomy chambers of dilapi- 
dated castles, or walk by moonlight in moody solitude. 

While these opinions have universally found popular 
acceptance in Europe, others of a very different nature 
have prevailed extensively in Asia, and indeed very 
generally in the higher regions of thought. Ecclesias- 
tical authority succeeded in repressing them in the six- 
teenth century, but they never altogether disappeared. 
In our own times so silently and extensively have they 
been diffused in Europe, that it was found expedient in 
the papal Syllabus to draw them in a very conspicuous 
manner into the open light ; and the Vatican Council, 
agreeing in that view of their obnoxious tendency and 
secret spread, has in an equally prominent and signal 
manner among its first canons anathematized all per- 
sons who hold them. " Let him be anathema who says 
that spiritual things are emanations of the divine sub- 
stance, or that the divine essence by manifestation or 
development becomes all things." In view of this 
authoritative action, it is necessary now to consider the 
character and history of these opinions. 

Ideas respecting the nature of God necessarily in- 
fluence ideas respecting the nature of the soul. The 
eastern Asiatics had adopted the conception of an im- 
personal God, and, as regards the soul, its necessary con- 
sequence, the doctrine of emanation and absorption. 

Thus the Vedic theology is based on the acknowl- 
edgment of a universal spirit pervading all things. 
" There is in truth but one Deity, the supreme Spirit ; 
ho is of the same nature as the soul of man." Both the 


Vedas and the Institutes of Menu affirm that the sou] 
is an emanation of the all-pervading Intellect, and that 
it is necessarily destined to be reabsorbed. They con- 
sider it to be without form, and that visible Nature, 
with all its beauties and harmonies, is only the shadow 
of God. 

Vedaism developed itself into Buddhism, which has 
become the faith of a majority of the human race. This 
system acknowledges that there is a supreme Power, but 
denies that there, is a supreme Being. It contemplates 
the existence of Force, giving rise as its manifestation 
to matter. It adopts the theory of emanation and ab- 
sorption. In a burning taper it sees an effigy of man — 
an embodiment of matter, and an evolution of force. 
If we interrogate it respecting the destiny of the soul, 
it demands of us what has become of the flame when it 
is blown out, and in what condition it was before the 
taper was lighted. Was it a nonentity ? Has it been 
annihilated? It admits that the idea of personality 
which has deluded us through Ufa may not be instan- 
taneously extinguished at death, but may be lost by 
slow degrees. On this is founded the doctrine of trans- 
migration. But at length reunion with the universal 
Intellect takes place, Nirwana is reached, oblivion is 
attained, a state that has no relation to matter, space, or 
time, the state into which the departed flame of the ex- 
tinguished taper has gone, the state in which we were 
before we were born. This is the end that we ought 
to hope for ; it is reabsorption in the universal Force — 
supreme bliss, eternal rest. 

Through Aristotle these doctrines were first intro- 
duced into Eastern Europe; indeed, eventually, as we 
shall see, he was regarded as the author of them. They 
exerted a dominating influence in the later period of 


the Alexandrian school. Philo, the Jew, who lived in 
the time of Caligula, based his philosophy on the theory 
of emanation. Plotinus not only accepted that theory 
as applicable to the soul of man, but as affording an 
illustration of the nature of the Trinity. For, as a beam 
of light emanates from the sun, and as warmth ema- 
nates from the beam when it touches material bodies, 
so from the Father the Son emanates, and thence the 
Holy Ghost. From these views Plotinus derived a prac- 
tical religious system, teaching the devout how to pass 
into a condition of ecstasy, a foretaste of absorption 
into the universal mundane soul. In that condition the 
soul loses its individual consciousness. In like manner 
Porphyry sought absorption in or union with God. He 
was a Tyrian by birth, established a school at Rome, 
and wrote against Christianity ; his treatise on that sub- 
ject was answered by Eusebius and St. Jerome, but the 
Emperor Theodosius silenced it more effectually bj 
causing all the copies to be burnt. Porphyry bewaih 
his own unworthiness, saying that he had been united tc 
God in ecstasy but once in eighty-six years, whereas his 
master Plotinus had been so united six times in sixty 
years. A complete system of theology, based on the 
theory of emanation, was constructed by Proclus, who 
speculated on the manner in which absorption takes 
place : whether the soul is instantly reabsorbed and re- 
united in the moment of death, or whether it retains 
the sentiment of personality for a time, and subsides 
into complete reunion by successive steps. 

From the Alexandrian Greeks these ideas passed to 
the Saracen philosophers, who very soon after the 
capture of the great Egyptian city abandoned to the 
lower orders their anthropomorphic notions of the na- 
ture of God and the simulachral form of the spirit of 


man. As Arabism developed itself into a distinct scien- 
tific system, the theories of emanation and absorption 
were among its characteristic features. In this aban- 
donment of vulgar Mohammedanism, the example of 
the Jews greatly assisted. They, too, had given up 
the anthropomorphism of their ancestors ; they had ex- 
changed the God who of old lived behind the veil of 
the temple for an infinite Intelligence pervading the 
universe, and, avowing their inability to conceive that 
any thing which had on a sudden been called into ex- 
istence should be capable of immortality, they affirmed 
that the soul of man is connected with a past of which 
there was no beginning, and with a future to which 
there is no end. 

In the intellectual history of Arabism the Jew and 
the Saracen are continually seen together. It was the 
same in their political history, whether we consider it in 
Syria, in Egypt, or in Spain. From them conjointly 
Western Europe derived its philosophical ideas, which 
in the course of time culminated in Averroism ; Averro- 
ism is philosophical Islamism. Europeans generally re- 
garded Averroes as the author of these heresies, and the 
orthodox branded him accordingly, but he was nothing 
more than their collector and commentator. His works 
invaded Christendom by two routes : from Spain through 
Southern France they reached Upper Italy, engender- 
ing numerous heresies on their way ; from Sicily they 
passed to Naples and South Italy, under the auspices 
of Frederick II. 

But, long before Europe suffered this great intel- 
lectual invasion, there were what might, perhaps, be 
termed sporadic instances of Orientalism. As an ex- 
ample I may quote the views of John Erigena (a. d. 800) 
He had adopted and taught the philosophy of Aristotle 


had made a pilgrimage to the birthplace of that philos- 
opher, and indulged a hope of uniting philosophy and 
religion in the manner proposed by the Christian eccle- 
siastics who were then studying in the Mohammedan 
universities of Spain. He was a native of Britain. 

In a letter to Charles the Bald, Anastasius expresses 
his astonishment " how such a barbarian man, coming 
from the very ends of the earth, and remote from human 
conversation, could comprehend things so clearly, and 
transfer them into another language so well." The 
general intention of his writings was, as we have said, 
to imite philosophy with religion, but his treatment of 
these subjects brought him under ecclesiastical censure, 
and some of his works were adjudged to the flames. 
His most important book is entitled " De Divisione Na- 

Erigena's philosophy rests upon the observed and 
admitted fact that every living thing comes from some- 
thing that had previously lived. The visible world, 
being a world of life, has therefore emanated necessarily 
from some primordial existence, and that existence is 
God, who is thus the originator and conservator of all. 
Whatever we see maintains itself as a visible thing 
through force derived from him, and, were that force 
withdrawn, it must necessarily disappear. Erigena thus 
conceives of the Deity as an unceasing participator in 
Nature, being its preserver, maintainer, upholder, and 
in that respect answering to the soul of the world of the 
Greeks. The particular life of individuals is therefore 
a part of general existence, that is, of the mundane soul. 

If ever there were a withdrawal of the maintaining 
power, aQ things must return to the source from which 
they issued — ^that is, they must return to God, and be ab- 
sorbed in him, AU visible Nature must thus pass back 


into " the Intellect " at last " The death of the flesh ie 
the auspices of the restitution of things, and of a return 
to their ancient conservation. So sounds revert back to 
the air in which they were bom, and by which they 
were maintained, and they are heard no more ; no man 
knows what has become of them. In that final absorp- 
tion which, after a lapse of time, must necessarily come, 
God will be all in all, and nothing exist but him alone." 
" I contemplate him as the beginning and cause of all 
things ; all things that are and those that have been, but 
now are not, were created from him, and by him, and 
in him. lalsoviewhimastheendandintransgressible 
term of all things. . . . There is a fourfold conception 
of universal Nature— two views of divine Nature, as 
origin and end; two also of framed Nature, causes and 
effects. .There is nothing eternal but God." 

The return of the soul to the universal Intellect is 
designated by Erigena as Theosis, or Deification. In 
that final absorption aU remembrance of its past experi- 
ences is lost. The soul reverts to the condition in which 
it was before it animated the body. Necessarily, there- 
fore, Erigena fell under the displeasure of the Church. 

It was in India that men first recognized the fact 
that force is indestructible and eternal. This implies 
ideas more or less distinct of that which we now term 
its " correlation and conservation." Considerations con- 
nected with the stability of the universe give strength 
to this view, since it is clear that, were there either an 
increase or a diminution, the order of the world most 
cease. The definite and invariable amount of energy in 
the universe must therefore be accepted as a scientific 
fact. The changes we witness are in its distribution. 

But, since the soul must be regarded as an active 
principle, to call a new one into existence out of noth- 


ing is necessarily to add to the force previously in the 
world. And, if this has been done in the case of every 
individual who has been bom, and is to be repeated for 
every individual hereafter, the totality of force must 
be continually increasing. 

Moreover, to many devout persons there is some- 
thing very revolting in the suggestion that the Al- 
mighty is a servitor to the caprices and lusts of man, 
and that, at a certain term after its origin, it is necessary 
for him to create for the embryo a soul. 

Considering man as composed of two portions, a soul 
and a body, the obvious relations of the latter may cast 
much light on the mysterious, the obscure relations of 
the former. Now, the substance of which the body con- 
sists is obtained from the general mass of matter around 
us, and after death to that general mass it is restored. 
Has Nature, then, displayed before our eyes in the ori- 
gin, mutations, and destiny of the material part, the 
body, a revelation that may guide us to a knowledge of 
the origin and destiny of 'the companion, the spiritual 
part, the soul ? 

Let us listen for a moment to one of the most pow- 
erful of Mohammedan writers : 

" God has created the spirit of man out of a drop 
of his own light ; its destiny is to return to him. Do 
not deceive yourself with the vain imagination that it 
will die when the body dies. The form you had on 
your entrance into this world, and your present form, 
are not the same ; hence there is no necessity of your 
perishing, on account of the perishing of your body. 
Tour spirit came into this world a stranger ; it is only 
sojourning, in a temporary home. From the trials and 
tempests of this troublesome life, our refuge is in God. 
In reunion with him we shall find eternal rest — a rest 


without sorrow, a joy without pain, a strength without 
infirmity, a knowledge without doubt, a tranquil and 
yet an ecstatic vision of the source of life and light and 
glory, the source from which we came." So says the 
Saracen philosopher, Al-Gazzali (a, d. 1010). 

In a stone the material particles are in a state of 
stable equilibrium ; it may, therefore, endure forever. 
An animal is in reality only a form through which a 
stream of matter is incessantly flowing. It receives its 
supplies, and dismisses its wastes. In this it resembles 
a cataract, a river, a flame. The particles that compose 
it at one instant have departed from it the next. It 
depends for its continuance on exterior supplies. It has 
a definite duration in time, and an inevitable moment 
comes in which it must die. 

In the great problem of psychology we cannot ex- 
pect to reach a scientific result, if we persist in restrict- 
ing ourselves to the contemplation of one fact. We 
must avail ourselves of aU accessible facts. Human 
psychology can never be completely resolved except 
through comparative psychology. "With Descartes, we 
must inquire whether the souls of animals be relations 
of the human soul, less perfect members in the same 
series of development. We must take account of what 
we discover in the intelligent principle of the ant, as 
well as what we discern in the intelligent principle of 
man. Where would human physiology be, if it were 
not illuminated by the bright irradiations of compara- 
tive physiology ? 

Brodie, after an exhaustive consideration of the facts, 
affirms that the mind of animals is essentially the same 
as that of man. Every one familiar with the dog will 
admit that that creature knows right from wrong, and 
is conscious when he has committed a fault, Manj 


domestic animals have reasoning powers, and employ 
proper means for the attainment of ends. How nnmer- 
ons are the anecdotes related of the intentional actions 
of the elephant and the ape ! Nor is this apparent 
intelligence due to imitation, to their association with 
man, for wild animals that have no such relation exhibit 
similar properties. In different species, the capacity and 
character greatly vary. Thus the dog is not only more 
intelligent, but has social and moral qualities that the 
cat does not possess ; the former loves his master, the 
latter her home. 

Du Bois-Eeymond makes this striking remark : 
"With awe and wonder must the student of Nature 
regard that microscopic molecule of nervous substance 
which is the seat of the laborious, constructive, orderly, 
loyal, dauntless soul of the ant. It has developed 
itself to its present state through a countless series of 
generations.'* What an impressive inference we may 
draw from the statement of Huber, who has written so 
well on this subject : " If you wiU watch a single ant at 
work, you can tell what he will next do 1 " He is con- 
sidering the matter, and reasoning as you are doing. 
Listen to one of the many anecdotes which Huber, at 
once truthful and artless, relates : " On the visit of an 
overseer ant to the works, when the laborers had begim 
the roof too soon, he examined it and had it taken down, 
the wall raised to the proper height, and a new ceiling 
constructed with the fragments of the old one." Surely 
these insects are not automata, they show intention. 
They recognize their old companions, who have been 
shut up from them for many months, and exhibit senti- 
ments of joy at their return. Their antennal language 
is capable of manifold expression ; it suits the interior 
of the nest, where aU is dark. 


While solitary insects do not live to raise their young, 
social insects have a longer term, they exhibit mora^ 
affections and educate their offspring. Patterns of pa 
tience and industry, some of these insignificant creat- 
ures will work sixteen or eighteen hours a day. Few 
men are capable of sustained mental application more 
than four or five hours. 

Similarity of effects indicates similarity of causes ; 
similarity of actions demands similarity of organs. I 
would ask the reader of these paragraphs, who is famil- 
iar with the habits of animals, and especially with the 
social relations of that wonderful insect to which refer- 
ence has been made, to turn to the nineteenth chapter of 
my work on the " Intellectual Development of Europe," 
in which he will find a description of the social system 
of the Incas of Peru. Perhaps, then, in view of the 
similarity of the social institutions and personal conduct 
of the insect, and the social institutions and personal 
conduct of the civilized Indian — ^the one an insignificant 
speck, the other a man — ^he will not be disposed to dis- 
agree with me in the opinion that "from bees, and 
wasps, and ants, and birds, from all that low animal life 
on which he looks with supercilious contempt, man is 
destined one day to learn what in truth he really is." 

The views of Descartes, who regarded all insects as 
automata, can scarcely be accepted without modifica- 
tion. Insects are automata only so far as the action of 
their ventral cord, and that portion of their cephalic 
ganglia which deals with contemporaneous impressions, 
is concerned. 

It is one of the functions of vesicular-nervous mate- 
rial to retain traces or relics of impressions brought to 
it by the organs of sense ; hence, nervous ganglia, being 
composed of that material, may be considered as regis- 


tering apparatus. They also introduce tte element of 
time into the action of the nervous mechanism. An 
impression, which without them might have forthwith 
ended in reflex action, is delayed, and with this duration 
come all those important effects arising through the in- 
teraction of many impressions, old and new, upon each 

There is no such thing as a spontaneous, or self* 
originated, thought. Every intellectual act is the con- 
sequence of some preceding act. It comes into exist- 
ence in virtue of something that has gone before. Two 
minds constituted precisely alike, and placed under the 
influence of precisely the same environment, must give 
rise to precisely the same thought. To such sameness 
of action we allude in the popular expression " common- 
sense'' — a term full of meaning. In the origination of 
a thought there are two distinct conditions : the state of 
the organism as dependent on antecedent impressions, 
and on the existing physical circumstances. 

In the cephalic ganglia of insects are stored up the 
relics of impressions that have been made upon the 
common peripheral nerves, and in them are kept those 
which are brought in by the organs of special sense— 
the visual, olf active, auditory. • The interaction of these 
raises insects above mere mechanical automata, in which 
the reaction instantly follows the impression. 

In all cases the action of every nerve-centre, no mat- 
ter what its stage of development may be, high or low, 
depends upon an essential chemical condition — oxida- 
tion. Even in^an, if the supply of arterial blood be 
stopped but for a moment, the nerve-mechanism loses 
its power ; if diminished, it correspondingly declines j 
if, on the contrary, it be increased— as when nitrogen 
monoxide is breathed — ^there is more energetic action. - 


Hence there arises a need of repair, a necessity for rest 
and sleep. 

Two fundamental ideas are essentially attached to 
all onr perceptions of external things : they are Space 
and Time, and for these provision is made in the ner- 
vous mechanism while it is yet in an almost rudimentary 
state. The eye is the organ of space, the ear of time ; 
the perceptions of which by the elaborate mechanism 
of these structures become infinitely more precise than 
would be possible if the sense of touch alone were re- 
sorted to. 

There are some simple experiments which illustrate 
the vestiges of ganglionic impressions. If on a cold, 
polished metal, as a new razor, any object, such as a 
wafer, be laid, and the metal be then breathed upon, 
and, when the moisture has had time to disappear, the 
wafer be thrown off, though now the most critical in- 
spection of the polished surface can discover no trace of 
any form, if we breathe once more upon it, a spectral 
image of the wafer comes plainly into view ; and this 
may be done again and again. Nay, more, if the pol- 
ished metal be carefully put aside where nothing can 
deteriorate its surface, and be so kept for many months, 
on breathing again upon it the shadowy form emerges. 

Such an illustration shows how trivial an impression 
may be thus registered and preserved. But, if, on such 
an inorganic surface, an impression may thus be indel- 
ibly marked, how much more likely in the purposely- 
constructed ganglion 1 A shadow never falls upon a 
wall without leaving thereupon a per^ianent trace, a 
trace which might be made visible by resorting to proper 
processes. Photographic operations are cases in point. 
The portraits of our friends, or landscape views, may 
be hidden on the sensitive surface from the eye, bul 



they are ready to make their appearance as soon as 
proper developers are resorted to. A spectre is con- 
cealed on a silver or glassy surface until, by our necro- 
mancy, we make it come forth into the visible world. 
Upon the walls of our most private apartments, where 
we think the eye of intrusion is altogether shut out 
and our retirement can never be profaned, there exist 
the vestiges of all our acts, silhouettes of whatever we 
have done. 

If, after the eyelids have been closed for some time, 
as when we first awake in the morning, we suddenly 
and steadfastly gaze at a brightly-illuminated object 
and then quickly close the lids again, a phantom image 
is perceived in the indefinite darkness beyond us. We 
may satisfy ourselves that this is not a fiction, bnt a re- 
ality, for many details that we had not time to identify 
in the momentary glance may be contemplated at our 
leisure in the phantom. We may thus make out the pat- 
tern of such an object as a lace curtain hanging' in the 
window, or the branches of a tree beyond. By degrees 
the image becomes less and less distinct ; in a minute 
or two it has disappeared. It seems to have a ten- 
dency to fioat away in the vacancy before us. If we 
attempt to follow it by moving the eyeball, it suddenly 

Such a duration of impressions on the retina proves, 
that the effect of external influences on nerve-vesicles 
is not necessarily transitory. In this there is a corre- 
spondence to the duration, the emergence, the extinction, 
of impressions on photographic preparations. Thus, I 
have seen landscapes and architectural views taken in 
Mexico developed, as artists say, months subsequently 
in New York — the images coming out, after the long 
voyage, in all their proper forms and in all their propei 


contrast of light and shade. The photograph had for- 
gotten nothing. It had equally preserved the contour 
of the everlasting mountains and the passing smoke of 
a bandit-fire. 

Are there, then, contained in the brain more perma- 
nently, as in the retina more transiently, the vestiges 
of impressions that have been gathered by the sensory 
organs? Is this the explanation . of memory— the 
Mind contemplating such pictures of past things and 
events as have been committed to her custody. In her 
silent galleries are there hung niicrographs of the living 
and the dead, of scenes that we have visited, of inci- 
dents in which we have borne a part ? Are these abid- 
ing impressions mere signal-marks, like the letters of a 
book, which impart ideas to the mind ? or are they actual 
picture-images, inconceivably smaller than those made 
for us by artists, in which, by the aid of a microscope, 
we can see, in a space not bigger than a pinhole, a whole 
family 'group at a glance ? 

The phantom images of the retina are not percep- 
tible in the light of the day. Those that exist in tfie 
sensorium in like manner do not attract our attention 
so long as the sensory organs are in vigorous operation, 
and occupied in bringing new impressions in . But, when 
those organs become. weary or dull, or when we experi- 
ence hours of great anxiety, or are in twilight reveries, 
or are asleep, the latent apparitions have their vivid- 
ness increased by the contrast, and obtrude themselves 
on the mind. For the same reason they occupy us in 
the delirium of fevers, and doubtless also in the solemn 
moments of death. During a third part of our life, in 
sleep, we are withdrawn from external influences ; hear 
ing and sight and the other senses are inactive, but the 
never-sleeping Mind, that pensive, that veiled enchant 


ress, in ter mysterious retirement, looks over tlie am- 
brotypes she has collected — ambrotypes, for they are 
truly unfading impressions — ^and, combining tbem to- 
gether, as they chance to occur, constnicts from them 
the panorama of a dream. 

Nature has thus implanted in the organization of 
every man means which impressively suggest to him the 
immortality of the soul and a future life. Even the 
benighted savage thus sees in his visions the fading 
forms of landscapes, which are, perhaps, connected with 
some of his most pleasant recollections ; and what other 
conclusion can he possibly extract from those* unreal 
pictures than that they are the f oreshadowings of an- 
other land beyond that in which his lot is cast ? At 
intervals he is visited in his dreams by the resemblances 
of those whom he has loved or hated while they were 
alive; and these manifestations are to him incontro- 
vertible proofs of the existence and immortality of the 
soul. In our most refined social conditions we are 
never able to shake off the impressions of these occur- 
rences, and are perpetually drawing from them the same 
conclusions that our uncivilized ancestors did. Our 
more elevated condition of life in no respect relieves 
us from the inevitable operation of our own organiza- 
tion, any more than it relieves us from infirmities and 
disease. In these respects, all over the globe men are 
on an equality. Savage or civilized, we carry within 
us a mechanism which presents us with mementoes of 
the most solemn facts with which we can be. concerned. 
It wants only moments of repose or sickness, when the 
influence of external things is diminished, to come into 
full play, and these are precisely the moments when we 
are best prepared for the truths it is going to suggest. 
That mechanism is no respecter of persons. It neithei 


permits the haughtiest to be free from the monitions, 
nor leaves the humblest without the consolation of a 
knowledge of another life. Open to no opportunities 
of being tampered with by the designing or interested, 
requiring no extraneous human agency for its effect, 
but always present with every man wherever he may 
go, it marvelously extracts from vestiges of the impres- 
sions of the past overwhelming proofs of the realities of 
the future, and, gathering its power from what would 
seem to be a most unlikely source, it insensibly leads 
us, no matter who or where we may be, to a profound 
belief iii the immortal and imperishable, from phantoms 
which have scarcely made their appearance before they 
are rea^y to vanish away. 

The insect differs from a mere automaton in this, 
that it is influenced by old, by registered impressions. 
In the higher forms of animated life that registration 
becomes more and more complete, meUlory becomes 
more perfect. There is not any necessary resemblance 
between an external form and its ganglionic impres- 
sion, any more than there is between the words of a 
message delivered in a telegraphic office and the signals 
which the telegraph may give to the distant station; 
any more than there is between the letters of a printed 
page and the acts or scenes ihey describe, but the let- 
ters call up with clearness to the mind of the reader 
the events and scenes. 

An animal without any apparatus for the retention 
of impressions must be a pure automaton — ^it cannot 
have memory. From insignificant and uncertain begin- 
nings, such an apparatus is gradually evolved, and, as 
its development advances, the intellectual capacity in- 
creases. In man, this retention or registration reaches 
perfection; he guides himself by past as well as by 



present impressions ; he is influenced by experience ; 
his conduct is determined by reason. 

A most important advance is made when the capa- 
biKty is acquired by any animal of imparting a knowl- 
edge of the impressions stored up in its own nerve-cen- 
tres to another of the same kind. This marks the ex- 
tension of individual into social life, and indeed is essen- 
tial thereto. In the higher insects it is accomplished by 
antennal contacts, in man by speech. Humanity, in its 
earlier, its savage stages, was limited to this : the knowl- 
edge of one person could be transmitted to another by 
conversation. The acts and thoughts of one generation 
could be imparted to another, and influence its acts and 

But tradition has its limit. The faculty of speech 
makes society possible — ^nothing more. 

Not without interest do we remark the progress of 
development of this function. The invention of the art 
of writing gave extension and durability to the registra- 
tion or record of impressions. These, which had hitherto 
been stored up in the brain of one man, might now be 
imparted to the whole hxmian race, and be made to en- 
dure forever. Civilization became possible — ^f or civili- 
zation cannot exist without writing, or the means of 
record in some shape. 

From this psychological point of view we perceive 
the real significance of the invention of printing — a de- 
velopment of writing which, by increasing the rapidity 
of the diflEusion of ideas, and insuring their permanence, 
tends to promote civilization and to unify the human race. 

In the foregoing paragraphs, relating to nervous im- 
pressions, their registry, and the consequences that spring 
from them, I havT glTen an abstraT^f views pres^ntJ 
in my work on "Human Physiology," published in 


1856, and may, therefore, refer the reader to the chap- 
ter on " Inverse Vision, or Cerebral Sight ; " to Chapter 
XIV., Book I, ; and to Chapter VIIL, Book II. ; of that 
work, for other particulars. 

The only path to scientific human psychology is 
through comparative psychology. It is a long and 
wearisome path, but it leads to truth. 

Is there, then, a vast spiritual existence pervading 
the universe, even as there is a vast existence of matter 
pervading it— a spirit which, as a great German author 
tells us, "sleeps in the stone, dreams in the animal, 
awakes in man i " Does the soul arise from the one as 
the body arises from the other ? Do they in like man- 
ner return, each to the source from which it has come ? 
If so, we can interpret human existence, and our ideas 
may still be in unison with scientific truth, and in ac- 
cord with our conception of the stability, the unchangea- 
bility of the universe. 

To this spiritual existence the Saracens, following 
Eastern nations, gave the designation " the Active Intel- 
lect." They believed that the soul of man emanated 
from it, as a rain-drop comes from the sea, and, after a 
season, returns. So arose among them the imposing 
doctrines of emanation and absorption. The active in- 
tellect is God. 

In one of its forms, as we have seen, this idea was 
developed by Chakia Mouni, in India, in a most mas- 
terly manner, and embodied in the vast practical system 
of Buddhism ; in another, it was with less power pre- 
sented among the Saracens by Averroes. 

But, perhaps we ought rather to say that Europeans 
hold Averroes as the author of this doctrine, because 
they saw him isolated from his antecedents. But Mo- 


hammedans gave him little credit for originality. He 
stood to them in the light of a commentator on Aris- 
totle, and as presenting the opinions of the Alexandrian 
and other philosophical schools np to his time. The 
following excerpts from the -" Historical Essay on Aver- 
roism," by M. Kenan, wiU show how closely the Sara- 
cenic ideas approached those presented above : 

This system supposes that, at the death of an indi- 
vidual, his intelligent principle or soul no longer pos- 
sesses a separate existence, but returns to or is absorbed 
in the universal mind, the active intelligence, the mun- 
dane' soul, which is God ; from whom, indeed, it had 
origmaUy emanated or issued forth. 

The universal, or active, or objective intellect, is 
uncreated, impassible, incorruptible, has neither begin- 
ning nor end ; nor does it increase as the number of in- 
dividual souls increases. It is altogether separate from 
matter. It is, as it were, a cosmic principle. This one- 
ness of the active intellect, or reason, is the essential 
principle of the Averroistic theory, and is in harmony 
with the cardinal doctrine of Mohanmiedanism — ^the 
unity of God. 

The individual, or passive, or subjective intellect, is 
an emanation from the universal, and constitutes what 
is termed the soul of man. In one sense it is perishable 
and ends with the body, but in a higher sense it en- 
dures ; for, after death, it returns to or is absorbed in 
the universal soul, and thus of all human souls there 
remains at last but one — ^the aggregate of them all. 
life is not the property of the individual, it belongs to 
Nature. The end of man is to enter into union more 
and more complete with the active intellect — reason. 
In that the happiness of the soul consists. Our des- 
tiny is quietude. It was the opinion of Averroes that 


the transition from the individual to the universal is 
instantaneous at death, but the Buddhists maintain that 
human personality continues in a declining manner 
for a certain term before nonentity, or Nirwana, is at- 

Philosophy has never proposed but two hypotheses to 
explain the system of the world : first, a personal God 
existing apart, and a human soul called into existence 
or created, and thenceforth immortal ; second, an imper- 
sonal intelligence, or indeterminate God, and a soul emer- 
ging from and returning to him. As to the origin of 
beings, there are two opposite opinions : first, that they 
are created from nothing; second, that they come by 
development from preexisting forms. The theory of 
creation belongs to the first of the above hypotheses, 
that of evolution to the last. 

Philosophy among the Arabs thus took the same 
direction that it had taken in China, in India, and in- 
deed throughout the East. Its whole spirit depended 
on the admission of the indestructibility of matter and 
force. It saw an analogy between the gathering of the 
material of which the body of man consists from the 
vast store of matter in Nature, and its final restoration 
to that store, and the emanation of the spirit of man 
from the universal Intellect, the Divinity, and its final 

Having thus indicated in sufficient detail the philo- 
sophical characteristics of the doctrine of emanation and 
absorption, I have in the next place to relate its history. 
It was introduced into Europe by the Spanish Arabs. 
Spain was the focal point from which, issuing forth, it 
aflEected the ranks of intelligence and fashion aU ovei 
Europe, and in Spain it had a melancholy end. 


The Spanish khalif s had surrounded themselves with 
all the luxuries of Oriental life. They had magnificent 
palaces, enchanting gardens, seraglios filled with beau- 
tiful women. Europe at the present day does not oJBEer 
more taste, more refinement, more elegance, than might 
have been seen, at the epoch of which we are speaking, 
in the capitals of the Spanish Arabs. Their streets were 
lighted and solidly paved. The houses were frescoed 
and carpeted ; they were warmed in winter by furnaces, 
and cooled in summer with perfumed air brought by 
undergroimd pipes from fiower-beds. They had baths, 
and libraries, and dining-halls, fountains of quicksilver 
and water. City and couptry were full of conviviality, 
and of dancing to the lute and mandolin. Instead of the 
drunken and gluttonous wassail orgies of their North- 
em neighbors, the feasts of the Saracens were marked 
by sobriety. Wine was prohibited. The enchanting 
moonlight evenings of Andalusia were spent by the 
Moors in sequestered, f airy-likp gardens or in orange 
groves, listening to the romances of the story-teller, or 
engaged in philosophical discourse ; consoling themselves 
for the disappointments of this life by such' refiections 
as that, if virtue were rewarded in this world, we should 
be without expectations in the life to come ; and recon- 
ciling themselves to their daily toil by the expectation 
that rest will be found after death — a rest never to be 
succeeded by labor. 

In the tenth century the Elalif Hakem II. had made 
beautiful Andalusia the paradise of the world. Chris- 
tians, Mussulmen, Jews, mixed together without re- 
straint. There, among many celebrated names that 
have descended to our times, was Gerbert, destined sub- 
sequently to become pope. There, too, was Peter the 
Venerable, and manv Christian ecclesiastics. Peter 


says that he found learned men even from Britain pur- 
suing astronomy. All learned men, no matter from 
what country they came, or what their religious views, 
were welcomed. The khalif had in his palace a manu- 
factory of books, and copyists, binders, illuminators. 
He kept book-buyers in all the great cities of Asia and 
Africa. His library contained four hundred thousand 
volumes, superbly bound and illuminated. 

Throughout the Mohammedan dominions in Asia, in 
Africa, and in Spain, the lower order of Mussulmen en- 
tertained a fanatical hatred against learning. Among 
the more devout — those who claimed to be orthodox — 
there were painful doubts o^ to the salvation of the 
great Khalif Al-Mamun — the wicked khalif, as they 
called him — for he had not only disturbed the people 
by introducing the writings of Aristotle and other 
Greek heathens, but had even struck at the existence 
of heaven and hell by saying that the earth is a globe, 
and pretending that he could measure its size. These 
persons, from their numbers, constituted a political 

Almansor, who usurped the khalifate to the preju- 
dice of Hakem's son, thought that his usurpation would 
be sustained if he put himself at the head of the ortho- 
dox party. He therefore had the library of Hakem 
searched, and all works of a scientific or philosophical 
nature carried into the public places and burnt, or 
thrown into the cisterns of the palace. By a similar 
court revolution Averroes, in his old age — ^he died a. d. 
1198 — ^was expelled from Spain; the religious party 
had triumphed over the philosophical. He was de- 
nounced as a traitor to religion. An opposition to phi- 
losophy had been organized all over the Mussulman 
wo^ld. There was hardly a philosopher who was riot 


punished. Some were put to death, and the conse- 
quence was, that Islam was full of hypocrites. 

Into Italy, Germany, England, Averroism had 
silently made its way. It found favor in the eyes of 
the Franciscans, and a focus in the University of Paris. 
By very many of the leading minds it had been ac- 
(3epted, But at length the Dominicans, the rivals of 
the Franciscans, sounded an alarm. They said it de- 
stroys all personality, conducts to fatalism, and renders 
inexplicable the difference and progress of individual 
intelligences. The declaration that there is but one in- 
tellect is an error subversive of the merits of the saints, 
it is an assertion that there is no difference among men. 
What ! is there no difference between the holy soul of 
Peter and the damned soul of Judas ? are they identi- 
cal ? Averroes in this his blasphemous doctrine denies 
creation, providence, revelation, the Trinity, the efficacy 
of prayers, of alms, and of litanies ; he disbelieves in 
the resurrection and immortality; he places the sum- 
mima bonum in mere pleasure. 

So, too, among the Jews who were then the leading 
intellects of the world, Averroism had been largely prop- 
agated. Their great writer Maimonides had thorough- 
ly accepted it ; his school was spreading it in all direc- 
tions. A furious persecution arose on the part of the 
orthodox Jews. Of Maimonides it had been formerly 
their delight to declare that he was '/ the Eagle of the 
Doctors, the Great Sage, the Glory of the West, the 
Light of the East, second only to Moses." Now, they 
proclaimed that he had abandoned the faith of Abra- 
ham ; had denied the possibility of creation, believed in 
tho eternity of the world ; had given himself up to the 
manufacture of atheists ; had deprived God of his attri- 
butes ; made a vacuum of him ; had declared him inao- 


cessible to prayer, and a stranger to the government of 
the world. The worts of Maimonides were committed 
to the flames by the synagogues of Montpellier, Barce- 
lona, and Toledo. 

Scarcely had the conquering arms of Ferdinand and 
Isabella overthrown the Arabian dominion in Spain, 
when measures were taken by the papacy to extinguish 
these opinions, which, it was believed, were undermining 
European Christianity. 

Until Innocent IV. (1243), there was no special tri- 
bunal against heretics, distinct from those of the bishops. 
The Inquisition, then introduced, in accordance with 
the centralization of the times, was a general and papal 
tribunal, which displaced the old local ones. The bish- 
ops, therefore, viewed the innovation with great dislike, 
considering it as an intrusion on their rights. It was 
established iq Italy, Spain, Germany, and the southern 
provinces of France. 

The temporal sovereigns were only too desirous to 
make use of this powerful engine for their own political 
purposes. Against this the popes strongly protested. 
They were not willing that its use should pass out of 
the ecclesiastical hand. 

The Inquisition, having already been tried in the 
south of France, had there proved to be very effective 
for the suppression of heresy. It had been introduced 
into Aragon. Now was assigned to it the duty of deal- 
ing with the Jews. 

In the old times under Visigothic rule these people 
had greatly prospered, but the leniency that had been 
shown to them was succeeded by atrocious persecution, 
when the Visigoths abandoned their Ajrianism and be- 
came orthodox. The most inhuman ordinances were 
issued against them — a law was enacted condemning 


tliem all to be slaves. It was not to be wondered at 
that, when the Saracen invasion took place, the Jews did 
whatever they could to promote its success. They, like 
the Arabs, were an Oriental people, both traced their 
lineage to Abraham, their common ancestor; both were 
believers in the unity of God. It was their defense of 
that doctrine that had brought upon them the hatred of 
their Visigothic masters. 

Under the Saracen rule they were treated with the 
highest consideration. They became distinguished for 
their wealth and their learning. For the most part they 
were Aristotelians. They founded many schools and 
colleges. Their mercantile interests led them to travel 
all over the world. They particularly studied the science 
of medicine. Throughout the middle ages they were 
the physicians and bankers of Europe. Of all men they 
saw the course of human aJBEairs from the most elevated 
point of view. Among the special sciences they became 
proficient in mathematics and astronomy; they com- 
posed the tables of Alfonso, and were the cause of the 
voyage of De Gama. They distinguished themselves 
greatly in light literature. From the tenth to the four- 
teenth century their literature was the first in Europe. 
They were to be found in the courts of princes as phy- 
sicians, or as treasurers managing the public finances. 

The orthodox clergy in Navarre had excited popular 
prejudices against them. To escape the persecutions 
that arose, many of them feigned to turn Christians, and 
of these many apostatized to their former faith. The 
papal nuncio at the court of Castile raised a cry for the 
establishment of the Inquisition. The poorer Jews were 
accused of sacrificing Christian children at the Passover, 
in mockery of the crucifixion ; the richer were denounced 
as Averroists. Under the influence of Torquemada, a 

146 THE iKQUismox. 

Dominican rnonk, the confessor of Qneen Isabella, tliat 
yrUu'A^m mYmUal a bull from the pope for the establish- 
mcoit of the Holy OflSce. A bnll was accordingly issued 
in November, 1478, for the detection and suppression 
c;f heresy. In the first year of the operation of the In- 
quisition, 1481, two thousand victims were burnt in 
Andalusia; besides these, many thousands were dug up 
from their graves and burnt ; seventeen thousand were 
fined or imprisoned for life. Whoever of the persecuted 
race could flee, escaped for his life. Torquemada, now 
a[)pointed inquisitor-general for Castile and Leon, illus- 
trated his office by his ferocity. Anonymous accusa- 
tions were received, the accused was not confronted by 
witncHHcs, torture was relied upon for conviction ; it was 
inflicted in vaults where no one could hear the cries of 
the tormented. As, in pretended mercy, it was forbid- 
den to inflict torture a second time, with horrible dupli- 
city it was affirmed that the torment had not been com- 
]»Uit.od at first, but had only been suspended out of 
Hiority until the following day! The families of tlie 
convicted were plunged into in^etrievable ruin. Uo- 
rento, the historian of the Inquisition, computes that Tor- 
(luoniada and his collaborators, in the course of eighteen 
yonrs, burnt at tlio stake ten thousand two hundred and 
twenty persons, six tliousand eight hundred and sixty 
in effigy, and otherwise punished ninety-seven thousand 
throe hundred and twenty-one. This frantic priest de- 
Htroyod Hebrew Bibles wherever he could find them, 
and bunit six tliousand volumes of Oriental literature 
at Salamanca, under an imputation that they inculcated 
Judaisiau. ^Vitli unutterable disgust and indignation, 
w*t> loam that the papal government realized much 
ntonoy by polling to the rich dispensations to secure 
thom from the Inquisition. 


But all these frightful atrocities proved failures. 
The conversions were few. Torquemada, therefore, 
insisted on the immediate banishment of every un- 
baptized Jew. On March 30, 1492, the edict of expul- 
sion was signed. All unbaptized Jews, of whatever age, 
sex, or condition, were ordered to leave the realm by the 
end of the following July. If they revisited it, they 
should suffer death. They might sell their effects and 
take the proceeds in merchandise or bills of exchange, 
but not in gold or silver. Exiled thus suddenly from 
the land of their birth, the land of their ancestors for 
hundreds of years, they could not in the glutted market 
that arose seU what they possessed.- Nobody would 
purchase what could be got for nothing after July. 
The Spanish clergy occupied themselves by preaching 
in the public squares sermons fiUed with denunciations 
against their victims^ who, when the time for expatria- 
tion came, swarmed in the roads and fiUed the air with 
their cries of despair. Even the Spanish onlookers 
wept at the scene of agony. Torquemada, however, 
enforced the ordinance that no one should afford them 
any help. 

Of the banished persons some made their way into 
Africa, some into Italy; the latter carried with them 
to Naples ship-fever, which destroyed not fewer than 
twenty thousand in that city, and devastated that penin- 
sula ; some reached Turkey, a few England. Thou- 
sands, especially mothers with nursing children, infants, 
and old people, died by the way ; many of them in the 
agonies of thirst. 

This action against the Jews was soon followed by 
one against the Moors. A pragmatica was issued at 
Seville, February, 1502, setting forth the obligations of 
the Castilians to drive the enemies of God from the 


landj and ordering that all nnbaptized Moors in the 
kingdoms of Castile and Leon above the age of infancy 
should leave the country by the end of April. They 
might sell their property, but not take away any gold 
or silver; they were forbidden to emigrate to the Mo- 
hammedan dominions ; the penalty of disobedience was 
death. Their condition was thus worse than that of 
the Jews, who had been permitted to go where they 
chose. Such was the fiendish intolerance of the Span- 
iards, that they asserted the government would be justi- 
fied in taking the lives of all the Moors for their shame- 
less infidelity. 

What an ungrateful return for the toleration that 
the Moors in their day of power had given to the Chris- 
tians ! "No faith was kept with the victims. Granada 
had surrendered under the solemn guarantee of the full 
enjoyment of civil and religious liberty. At the insti- 
gation of Cardinal Ximenes that pledge was broken, and, 
after a residence of eight centuries, the Mohammedans 
were driven out of the land. 

The coexistence of three religions in Andalusia — the 
Christian, the Mohammedan, the Mosaic — ^had given 
opportunity for the development of Averroism or philo- 
sophical Aj-abism. This was a repetition of what had 
occurred at Kome, when the gods of aU the conquered 
countries were confronted in that capital, and universal 
disbelief in them aU ensued. Averroes himself was ac- 
cused of having been first a Mussulman, then a Chris- 
tian, then a Jew, and finally a misbeliever. It was 
affirmed that he was the author of the mysterious book 
"De Tribus Impostoribus." 

In the middle ages there were two celebrated hereti- 
cal books, "The Everlasting Gospel," and the "De 


Tribus Impostoribus/' The latter was variously imputed 
to Pope Gerbert, to Frederick II., and to Averroes. In 
their unrelenting hatred the Dominicans fastened aU 
the blasphemies current in those times on Ayerroes; 
they never tired of recalling the celebrated and out- 
rageous one respecting the eucharist. His writings had 
first been generally made known to Christian Europe 
by the translation of Michael Scot in the beginning of 
the thirteenth century, but long before his time the 
literature of the West, like that of Asia, was f uU of these 
ideas. We have seen how broadly they were set forth 
by Erigena. The Arabians, from their first cultivation 
of philosophy, had been infected by them ; they were 
current in all the colleges of the three khalifates. 
Considered not as a mode of thought, that will sponta- 
neously occur to all men at a certain stage of intellectual 
development, but as having originated with Aristotle, 
they continually found favor with men of the highest 
culture. We see them in Robert Grostete, in Roger 
Bacon, and eventually in Spinoza. Averroes was not 
their inventor, he merely gave them clearness and ex- 
pression. Among the Jews of the thirteenth century, 
he had completely supplanted his imputed master. Aris- 
totle had passed away from their eyes ; his great com- 
mentator, Averroes, stood in his place. So numerous 
were the converts to the doctrine of emanation in Chris- 
tendom, that Pope Alexander IV. (1255) found it neces- 
sary to interfere. By his order, Albertus Magnus com- 
posed a work against the "Unity of the Intellect." 
Treating of the origin and nature of the soul, he at- 
tempted to prove that the theory of " a separate intellect, 
enlightening man by irradiation anterior to the individ- 
ual and surviving the individual, is a detestable error." 
But the most illustrious antagonist of the great com- 


tnentator was St. Thomas Aquinas, the destroyer of all 
such heresies as the unity of the intellect, the denial of 
Providence, the impossibility of creation ; the victories 
of "the Angelic Doctor" were celebrated not only in 
the disputations of the Dominicans, but also in the 
works of art of the painters of Florence and Pisa. The 
indignation of that saint knew no bounds when Chris- 
tians became the disciples of an infidel, who was worse 
than a Mohammedan. The wrath of the Dominicans, 
the order to which St. Thomas belonged, was sharpened 
by the fact that their rivals, the Franciscans, inclined 
to AVerroistic views; and Dante, who leaned to the 
Dominicans, denounced Averroes as the author of a 
most dangerous system. The theological odium of all 
three dominant religions was put upon him ; he was 
pointed out as the originator of the atrocious maxim 
that "all religions are false, although all are proba- 
bly useful." An attempt was made at the Council 
of Vienne to have his writings absolutely suppressed, 
and to forbid all Christians reading them. The Do- 
minicans, armed with the weapons of the Inquisition, 
terrified Christian Europe with their unrelenting perse- 
cutions. They imputed all the infidelity of the times 
to the Arabian philosopher. But he was not without 
support. In Paris and in the cities of Northern Italy 
the Franciscans sustained his views, and all Christendom 
was agitated with these disputes. 

Under the inspiration of the Dominicans, Averroes 
became to the Italian painters the emblem of unbelief. 
Many of the Italian towns had pictures or frescoes of 
the Day of Judgment and of HeU. In these Averroes 
not unf requently appears. Thus, in one at Pisa, he 
figures with Arius, Mohammed, and Antichrist. In 
another he is represented as overthrown by St. Thomas. 


He had become an essential element in the triumphs of 
the great Dominican doctor. He continued thus to be 
familiar to the Italian painters until the sixteenth cen- 
tury. His doctrines were maintained in the University 
of Padua until the seventeenth. 

Such is, in brief, the history of Averroism as it in- 
vaded Europe from Spain. Under the auspices of Fred- 
erick n., it, in a less imposing manner, issued from 
Sicily. That sovereign had adopted it fully. In his 
" Sicilian Questions " he had demanded light on the 
eternity of the world, and on the nature of the soul, 
and supposed he had found it in the replies of Ibn Sabin, 
an upholder of these doctrines. . But in his conflict with 
the papacy he was overthrown, and with him these 
heresies were destroyed. 

In Upper Italy, Averroism long maintained its 
ground. It was so fashionable in high Venetian so- 
ciety that every gentleman felt constrained to profess 
it. At length the Church took decisive action against 
it. The Lateran Council, a. d. 1512, condemned the 
aibettors of these detestable doctrines to be held as here- 
tics and infidels. As we have seen, the late Yatican 
Council has anathematized them. Notwithstanding 
that stigma, it is to be borne in mind that these opin- 
ions are* held to be true by a majority of the human 

■ / 



Scriptural view of the world: the earth a flat surface ; location of heaven 
and hell. 

Scientific view: the earth a ghhe; its size determined; its position in ana 
relations to the solar system, — Th£ three greai voyages, — Columbtts, 
De Gamay Magellan. — Circumnavigation of the earth. — Determina^ 
tion of its curvature by the measurement of a degree and by the pendu- 

The discoveries of Copernicus, — InvcTition of the telescope, — Galileo 
brought before the Inquisition, — His punishment. — Victory over the 

Attempts to ascertain the dimensions of the solar system, — Determination 
of the sun's parallax by the transits of Venus, — Insignificance of the 
earth and man. 

Ideas respecting the dimensions of the u^iiverse, — FaraUax of the stars. — 
The plurality of worlds asserted by Bruno, — He is seized and mur- 
dered by the Inquisition, 

I HAVE now to present tlie discussions that arose 
respecting the third great philosophical problem — ^the 
nature of the world. 

An uncritical observation of the aspect of Nature 
persuades us that the earth is an extended level surface 
which sustains the dome of the sky, a firmament divid- 
ing the waters above from the waters beneath ; that the 
heavenly bodies — ^the sun, the moon, the stars — ^pursue 
their way, moving from east to west, their insignificant 
size and motion round the motionless earth proclaiming 


their inferiority. Of the various organic forms sur- 
rounding man none rival him in dignity, and hence he 
seems justified in concluding that every thing has been 
created for his use — the sun for the purpose of giving 
him light by day, the moon and stars by night. 

Comparative theology shows us that this is the con- 
ception of Nature universally adopted in the early phase 
of intellectual life. It is the belief of aU nations in all 
parts of the world in the beginning of their civilization : 
geocentric, for it makes the earth the centre of the uni- 
verse ; anthropocentric, for it makes man the central 
object of the earth. And not only is this the conclusion 
spontaneously come to from inconsiderate glimpses of 
the world, it is also the philosophical basis of various 
religious revelations, vouchsafed to man from time to 
time. These revelations, moreover, declare to him that 
above the crystalline dome of the sky is a region of 
eternal light and happiness — ^heaven — ^the abode of God 
and the angelic hosts, perhaps also his own abode after 
death ; and beneath the earth a region of eternal dark- 
ness and misery, the habitation of those that are evil. 
In the visible world is thus seen a picture of the in- 

On the basis of this view of the structure of the 
world great religious systems have been founded, and 
hence powerful material interests have been engaged 
in its support. These have resisted, sometimes by re- 
sorting to bloodshed, attempts that have been made to 
correct its incontestable errors — a resistance grounded 
un the suspicion that the localization of heaven and hell 
and the supreme value of man in the universe might be 

That such attempts would be made was inevitable. 
As soon as men began to reason on the subject at all. 


they could not fail to discredit the assertion that the 
earth is an indefinite plane. No one can doubt that the 
sun we see to-day is the self -same sun that we saw yes- 
terday.' His reappearance each morning irresistibly sug- 
gests that he has passed on the underside of the earth. 
But this is incompatible with the reign of night in those 
regions. It presents more or less distinctly the idea of 
the globular form of the earth. 

The earth cannot extend indefinitely downward; for 
the sun cannot go through it, nor through any crevice 
or passage in it, since he rises and sets in dijfferent posi- 
tions at diJBferent seasons of the year. The stars also 
move under it in countless courses. There must, there- 
fore, be a clear way beneath. 

To reconcile revelation with these innovating facts, 
schemes, such as that of Cosmas Indicopleustes in his 
Christian Topography, were doubtless often adopted. 
To this in particular we have had occasion on a former 
page to refer. It asserted that in the northern parts of 
the flat earth there is an immense mountain, behind 
which the sun passes, and thus produces night. 

At a veiy remote historical period the mechatiism 
of eclipses had been discovered. Those of the moon 
demonstrated that the shadow of the earth is always cir- 
cular. The form of the earth must therefore be globu- 
lar. A body which in aU positions casts a circular 
shadow must itself be spherical. Other considerations, 
with which every one is now familiar, could not fail to 
establish that such is her figure. 

But the determination of the shape of the earth by 
110 means deposed her from her position of superiority. 
Apparently vastly larger than all other things, it was 
fitting that she should be considered not merely as the 
centre of the world, but, in truth, as — ^the world. All 


otlier objects in their aggregate seemed utterly imim- 
portant in comparison with her. 

Though the consequences flowing from an admission 
of the globular figure of the earth affected very pro- 
foundly existing theological ideas, they were of much 
less moment than those depending on a determina- 
tion of her size. It jieeded but an elementary knowl- 
edge of geometry to perceive that correct ideas on this 
point could be readily obtained by measuring a degree 
on her surface. ' Probably there were early attempts to 
accomplish this object, the results of which have been 
lost. But Eratosthenes executed one between Syene 
and Alexandria, in Egypt, Syene being supposed to be 
exactly under the tropic of Cancer. The two places 
are, however, not on the same meridian, and the dis- 
tance between them was estimated, not measured. Two 
centuries later, Posidonius made another attempt be- 
tween Alexandria and Rhodes ; the bright star Canopus 
just grazed the horizon at the latter place, at Alexandria 
it rose Y|-°. In this instance, also, since the direction 
lay across the sea, the distance was estimated, not meas- 
ured. Finally, as we have already related, the Khalif 
Al-Mamun made two sets of measures, one on the shore 
of the Ked Sea, the other near Cuf a, in Mesopotamia. 
The general result of these various observations gave for 
the earth's diameter between seven and eight thousand 

This approximate determination of the size of the 
earth tended to depose her from her dominating posi- 
tion, and gave rise to very serious theological results. In 
this the ancient investigations of Aristarchus of Samos, 
one of the Alexandrian school, 280 b. c, powerfully 
aided. In his treatise on the magnitudes and distances 
of the sun and moon, he explains the ingenious though 


imperfect method to whicli lie had resorted for the sola- 
tion of that problem. Many ages previously a specula- 
tion had been brought from India to Europe by Pythago- 
ras. It presented the sun as the centre of tiie system. 
Around liim the planets revolved in circular orbits, their 
order of position being Mercury, Yenus, Earth, Mars, 
Jupiter, Saturn, each of them beipg supposed to rotate 
on its axis as it revolved round the sun. According to 
Cicero, Nicetas suggested that, if it were admitted that 
the earth revolves on her axis, the difficulty presented 
by the inconceivable velocity of the heavens would be 

There is reason to believe that the works of Aris- 
tarchus, in the Alexandrian Library, were burnt at the 
time of the fire of Caesar. The only treatise of his that 
has come down to us is that above mentioned, on the 
size and distance of the sun and moon. 

Aristarchus adopted the Pythagorean system as repre- 
senting the actual facts. This was the result of a recog- 
nition of the sun's amazing distance, and therefore of his 
enormous size. The heliocentric system, thus regarding 
the sun as the central orb, degraded the earth to a very 
subordinate rank, making her only one of a company of 
six revolving bodies. 

But this is not the only contribution conferred on 
astronomy by Aristarchus, for, considering that the 
movement of the earth does not sensibly affect the ap- 
parent position of the stars, he inferred that they are 
incomparably more distant from us than the sun. He, 
therefore, of all the ancients, as Laplace remarks, had 
the most correct ideas of the grandeur of the universe. 
He saw that the earth is of absolutely insignificant size, 
when compared with the stellar distances. He saw, too, 
that there is nothing above us but space and stars. 


But the views of Aristarcliiis, as respects tlie em- 
placement of the planetary bodies, were not accepted 
by antiquity ; the system proposed by Ptolemy, and in- 
corporated in his " Syntaxis," was universally preferred. 
The physical philosophy of those times was very im- 
perfect — one of Ptolemy's objections to the Pytha- 
gorean system being that, if the earth were in motion, 
it would leave the air and other light bodies behind it. 
He therefore placed the earth in the central position, 
and in succession revolved ronnd her the Moon, Mer- 
cury, Yenus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn ; beyond 
the orbit of Saturn came the finnament of the fixed 
stars. As to the solid crystalline spheres, one moving 
from east to west, the other from north to south, these 
were a fancy of Eudoxus, to which Ptolemy does not 

The Ptolemaic system is, therefore, essentially a geo- 
centric system. It left the earth in her position of su- 
periority, and hence gave no cause of umbrage to re- 
ligious opinions. Christian or Mohammedan. The im- 
mense reputation of its author, the signal ability of his 
great work on the mechanism of the heavens, sustained 
it for almost fourteen hundred years — ^that is, from the 
second to the sixteenth century. . 

In Christendom, the greater part of this long period 
was consumed in disputes respecting the nature of God, 
and in struggles for ecclesiastical power. The author- 
ity of the Fathers, and the prevailing belief that the 
Scriptures contain the sum of all knowledge, discour- 
aged any investigation of Nature. If by chance a pass- 
ing interest was taken in some astronomical question, it 
was at once settled by a reference to such authorities as 
the writings of Augustine or Lactantius, not by an ap 
peal to the phenomena of the heavens. So great was 


the preference given to sacred over profane learning, 
that Christianity had been in existence fifteen hundred 
years, and had not produced a single astronomer. 

The Mohammedan nations did much better. Their 
cultivation of science dates from the capture of Alexan- 
dria, A. D. 638. This was only six years after the death 
of the Prophet. In less than two centuries they had 
not only become acquainted with, but correctly appreci- 
ated, the Greek scientific writers. As we have already 
mentioned, by his treaty with Michael III., the Khalif 
Al-Mamun had obtained a copy of the " Syntaxis " of 
Ptolemy. He had it forthwith translated into Arabic. 
It became at once the great authority of Saracen astron- 
omy. From this basis the Saracens had advanced to the 
solution of some of the most important scientific prob- 
lems. They had ascertained the dimensions of the earth ; 
they had registered or catalogued all the stars visible in 
their heavens, giving to those of the larger magnitudes 
the names they still bear on our maps and globes ; they 
determined the true length of the year, discovered as- 
tronomical refraction, invented the pendalum-clock, 
improved the photometry of the stars, ascertained the 
curvilinear path of a ray of light through the air, ex- 
plained the phenomena of the horizontal sun and moon, 
and why we see those bodies before they have risen and 
after they have set ; measured the height of the atmos- 
phere, determiniQg it to be fifty-eight miles ; given the 
true theory of the twilight, and of the twinkling of the 
stars. They had built the first observatory in Europe. 
So accurate were they in their observations, that the 
ablest modem mathematicians have made use of their 
results. Thus Laplace, in his " Syst^me du Monde," 
adduces the observations of Al-Batagni as affording in 
contestable proof of the diminution of the eccentricity 


of the earth's orbit. He uses those of Ibn-Junis in his 
discussion of the obliquity of the ecliptic, and also in 
the case of the problems of the greater inequalities of 
Jupiter and Saturn. 

These represent but a part, and indeed but a small 
part, of the services rendered by the Arabian astrono- 
mers, in the solution of the problem of the nature of 
the world. MeanwMle, such was the benighted con- 
dition of Christendom, such its deplorable ignorance, 
that it cared nothing about the matter. Its attention 
was engrossed by image-worship, transubstantiation, the 
merits of the saints, miracles, shrine-cures. 

This indifference continued until the close of the 
fifteenth century. Even then there was no scientific 
inducement. The inciting motives were altogether of a 
different kind. They originated in commercial rival- 
ries, and the question of the shape of the earth was 
finally settled by three sailors, Columbus, De Gama, 
and, above all, by Ferdinand Magellan. 

The trade of Eastern Asia has always been a source 
of immense wealth to the Western nations who in suc- 
cession have obtained it. In the middle ages it had 
centred in Upper Italy. It was conducted along two 
lines — a northern, by way of the Black and Caspian Seas, 
and camel-caravans beyond — the headquarters of this 
were at Genoa ; and a southern, through the Syrian and 
Egyptian ports, and by the Arabian Sea, the headquar- 
ters of this being at Venice. The merchants engaged 
in the latter traffic had also made great gains in the 
transport service of the Crusade-wars. 

The Venetians had managed to maintain amicable 
relations with the Mohammedan powers of Syria and 
Egypt; they were permitted to have consulates at Alex 
andria and Damascus, and, notwithstanding the military 


commotions of which those countries had been the scene, 
the trade was still maintained in a comparatively flour- 
ishing condition. But the northern or Genoese line had 
been completely broken up by the irruptions of the 
Tartars and the Turks, and the military and political dis- 
turbances of the countries through which it passed. The 
Eastern trade of Genoa was not merely in a precarious 
condition — ^it was on the brink of destruction. 

The circular visible horizon and its dip at sea, the 
gradual appearance and disappearance of ships in the 
offing, cannot fail to incline intelligent sailors to a be- 
lief in the globular figure of the earth. The writings 
of the Mohammedan astronomers and philosophers had 
given currency to that doctrine throughout Western 
Europe, but, as might be expected, it was received with 
disfavor by theologians. When Genoa was thus on the 
very brink of ruin, it occurred to some of her mariners 
that, if this view were correct, her affairs might be re- 
established. A ship sailing through the straits of Gib- 
raltar westward, across the Atlantic, would not fail to 
reach the East Indies. There were apparently other 
great advantages. Heavy cargoes might be transported 
without tedious and expensive land-carriage, and with- 
out breakmg bulk. 

Among the Genoese sailors who entertained these 
views was Christopher Columbus. 

He tells us that his attention was drawn to this sub- 
ject by the writings of Averroes, but among his friends 
he numbered Toscanelli, a Florentine, who had turned 
his attention to astronomy, and had become a strong 
advocate of the globular form. In Genoa itself Colum- 
bus met with but little encouragement. He then spent 
many years in trying to interest different princes in his 
proposed attempt. Its irreligious tendency was pointed 


out by tlie Spanisli ecclesiastics, and condemned by the 
Council of Salamanca ; its orthodoxy was confuted from 
the Pentateuch, the Psalms, the Prophecies, the Gospels, 
the Epistles, and the writings of the Fathers — St. Chrys- 
ostom, St. Augustine, St. Jerome, St. Gregory, St. Basil, 
St. Ambrose. 

At length, however, encouraged by the Spanish 
Queen Isabella, and substantially aided by a wealthy 
seafaring family, the Pinzons of Palos, some of whom 
joined him personally, he sailed on August 3, 1492, 
with three small ships, from Palos, carrying with him a 
letter from "King Ferdinand to the Grand-Eian of Tar- 
tary, and also a chart, or map, constructed on the basis 
of that of Toscanelli. A little before midnight, October 
11, 1492, he saw from the forecastle of his ship a mov- 
ing light at a distance. Two hours subsequently a sig- 
nal-gun from another of the ships announced that they 
had descried land. At sunrise Columbus landed in the 


New World. 

On his return to Europe it was universally supposed 
that he had reached the eastern parts of Asia, and that 
therefore his voyage had been theoretically successful. 
Columbus himself died in that belief. But numerous 
voyages which were soon undertaken made known the 
general contour of the American coast-line, and the 
discovery of the Great South Sea by Balboa revealed at 
length the true facts of the case, and the mistake into 
which both Toscanelli and Columbus had fallen, that in 
a voyage to the West the distance from Europe to Asia 
could not exceed the distance passed over in a voyage 
from Italy to the Gulf of Guinea — a voyage that Colum- 
bus had repeatedly made. 

In his first voyage, at nightfall on September 13, 
1492, being then two and a half degrees east of CorvO; 


one of the Azores, Columbus observed that the compass- 
needles of the ships no longer pointed a little to the east 
of north, but were varying to the west. The deviation 
became more and more marked as the expedition ad- 
vanced. He was not the first to detect the fact of 
variation, but he was incontestably the first to discover 
the line of no variation. On the return-voyage the 
reverse was observed; the variation westward dimin- 
ished until the meridian in question was reached, when 
the needles again pointed due north. Thence, as the 
coast of Europe was approached, the variation was to 
the east. Columbus, therefore, came to the conclusion 
that the line of no variation was a fixed geographical 
line, or boundary, between the Eastern and Western 
Hemispheres. In the bull of May, 1493, Pope Alexander 
VI. accordingly adopted this line as the perpetual boun- 
dary between the possessions of Spain and Portugal, in 
his settlement of the disputes of those nations. Subse- 
quently, however, it was discovered that the line was 
moving eastward. It coincided with the meridian of 
London in 1662. 

By the papal bull the Portuguese possessions were 
limited to the east of the line of no variation. Informa- 
tion derived from certain Egyptian Jews had reach^ 
that government, that it was possible to sail round the 
continent of Africa, there being at its extreme south a 
cape which could be easily doubled. An expedition of 
three ships under Vasco de Gama set sail, July 9, 1497; 
it doubled the cape on November 20th, and reached 
Calicut, on the coast of India, May 19, 1498. Under the 
bull, this voyage to the East gave to the Portuguese the 
right to the India trade. 

Until the cape was doubled, the course of De Gama'a 
ships was in a general manner southward. Very soon. 


it was noticed tliat the elevation of the pole-star above 
the horizon was diminishing, and, soon after the equator 
was reached, that star had ceased to be visible. Mean- 
time other stars, some of them forming magnificent 
constellations, had come into view — ^the stars of the 
Southern Hemisphere. All this was in conformity to 
theoretical expectations founded on the admission of the 
globular form of the earth. 

The political consequences that at once ensued placed 
the Papal Government in a position of great embarrass- 
ment. Its traditions and policy forbade it to admit 
any other than the flat figure of the earth, as revealed 
in the Scriptures. Concealment of the facts was im- 
possible, sophistry was xmavaUing. Commercial pros- 
perity now left Venice as well as Genoa. The front of 
Europe was changed. Maritime power had departed 
from the Mediterranean countries, and passed to those 
upon the Atlantic coast. 

But the Spanish Government did not submit to the 
advantage thus gained by its commercial rival without 
an effort. It listened to the representations of one 
JFerdinand Magellan, that India and the Spice Islands 
could be reached by sailing to the west, if only a strait 
or passage through what had now been recognized as 
" the American Continent " could be discovered ; and, if 
this should be accomplished, Spain, under the papal 
bull, would have as good a right to the India trade as 
Portugal. Under the command of Magellan, an ex- 
pedition of five ships, carrying two hundred and thirty- 
seven men, was dispatched from Seville, August 10, 

Magellan at once struck boldly for the South Amer- 
ican coast, hoping to find some cleft or passage through 
the continent by which he might reach the great South 


Sea. For seventy days he was becalmed on the line ; 
his sailors were appalled by the apprehension that they 
had drifted into a region where the winds never blew, 
and that it was impossible for them to escape. Cahns, 
tempests, mutiny, desertion, could not shake his resolu- 
tion. After more than a year he discovered the strait 
which now bears his name, and, as Pigaf etti, an Italian, 
who was with him, relates, he shed tears of joy when he 
found that it had pleased God at length to bring him 
where he might grapple with the unknown dangers of 
the South Sea, " the Great and Pacific Ocean." 

Driven by famine to eat scraps of skin and leather 
with which his rigging was here and there bound, to 
drink water that had gone putrid, his crew dying of 
himger and scurvy, this man, firm in his belief of the 
globular figure of the earth, steered steadily to the north- 
west, and for nearly four months never saw inhabited 
land. He estimated that he had sailed over the Pacific 
not less than twelve thousand miles. He crossed the 
equator, saw once more the pole-star, and at length 
made land — ^the Ladrones. Here he met with adven- 
turers from Sumatra. Among these islands he was 
killed, either by the savages or by his own men. His 
lieutenant, Sebastian d'Elcano, now took command of the 
ship, directing her course for the Cape of Good Hope, 
and encountering frightful hardships. He doubled the 
cape at last, and then for the fourth time crossed the 
equator. On September 7, 1522, after a voyage : of 
more than three years, he brought his ship, the San Vit- 
toria, to anchor in the port of St. Lucar, near Seville. 
She had accomplished the greatest achievement in tho 
history of the human race. She had circumnavigated 
the earth. 

The San Vittoria, sailing westward, had come back 


to her starting-point. Henceforth the theological doc- 
trine of the flatness of the earth was irretrievably over- 

Five years after the completion of the voyage of 
Magellan, was made the first attempt in Christendom 
to ascertain the size of the earth. This was by Femel, 
a French physician, who, having observed the height of 
the pole at Paris, went thence northward until he came 
to a place where the height of the pole was exactly one 
degree more than at that city. He measured the dis- 
tance between the two stations by the number of revo- 
lutions of one of the wheels of his carriage, to which a 
proper indicator had been attached, and came to the 
conclusion that the earth's circumference is about twen- 
ty-four thousand four hundred and eighty Italian miles. 

Measures executed more and more carefully were 
made in many countries: by Snell in HoUand; by Nor- 
wood between London and York in England ; by Picard, 
under the auspices of the French Academy of Sciences, 
in France. Picard's plan was to connect two points by 
a series of triangles, and, thus ascertaining the length of 
the arc of a meridian intercepted between them, to com- 
pare it with the difference of latitudes found from celes- 
tial observations. The stations were Malvoisine in the 
vicinity of Paris, and Sourdon near Amiens. The dif- 
ference of latitudes was determined by observing the 
zenith-distances of S Cassiopeia. There are two points 
of interest connected with Picard's operation : it was the 
first in which instruments furnished with telescopes were 
employed ; and its result, as we shall shortly see, was to 
Newton the first confirmation of the theory of imiversal 

At this time it had become clear from mechanical 
considerations, more especially such as had been deduced 


by Newton, that, since the earth is a rotating body, her 
form cannot be that of a perfect sphere, but must be 
that of a spheroid, oblate or flattened at the poles. It 
would follow, from this, that the length of a degree 
must be greater near the poles than at the equator. 

The French Academy resolved to extend Picard's 
operation, by prolonging the measures in each direction, 
and making the result the basis of a more accurate map 
of France. Delays, however, took place, and it was not 
until 1Y18 that the measures, from Dunkirk on the 
north to the southern extremity of France, were com- 
pleted. A discussion arose as to the interpretation of 
these measures, some affirming that they indicated a 
prolate, others an oblate spheroid; the former figure 
may be popularly represented by a lemon, the latter by 
an orange. To settle this, the French Government, aided 
by the Academy, sent out two expeditions to measure 
degrees of the meridian — one under the equator, the 
other as far north as possible ; the former went to Peru, 
the latter to Swedish Lapland. Very great difficulties 
were encountered by both parties. The Lapland com- 
mission, however, completed its observations long be- 
fore the Peruvian, which consumed not less than nine 
years. The results of the measures thus obtained con- 
firmed the theoretical expectation of the oblate form. 
Since that time many extensive and exact repetitions of 
the observation have been made, among which may be 
mentioned those of the English in England and in Lidia, 
and particularly that of th^ French on the occasion of 
the introduction of the metric system of weights and 
measures. It was begun by Delambre and Mechain, 
fron Dunkirk to Barcelona, and thence extended, by 
Biot and Arago, to the island of Formentera near Mi- 
norca. Its length was nearly twelve and a half degrees 


Besides this method of direct measurement, the fig- 
ure of the earth may be determiued from the observed 
number of oscillations made by a pendulum of invariable 
length in different latitudes. These, though they con- 
firm the foregoing results, give a somewhat greater 
ellipticity to the earth than that found by the measure- 
ment of degrees. Pendulums vibrate more slowly the 
nearer they are to the equator. It follows, therefore, 
that they are there farther from the centre of the earth. 

From the most reliable measures that have been 
made, the dimensions of the earth may be thus stated : 

Greater or equatorial diameter 7,925 miles. 

Less or polar diameter 7,899 " 

Difference or polar compression ,.. , 26 " 

Such was the result of the discussion respecting the 
figure and size of the earth. While it was yet undeter- 
mined, another controversy arose, fraught with even 
more serious consequences. This was the conflict re- 
specting the earth's position with regard to the sun and 
the planetary bodies. 

Copernicus, a Prussian, about the year 1507, had 
completed a book " On the Revolutions of the Heavenly 
Bodies." He had journeyed to Italy in his youth, had 
devoted his attention to astronomy, and had taught 
mathematics at Rome. From a profound study of the 
Ptolemaic and Pythagorean systems, he had come to a 
conclusion in favor of the latter, the object of his book 
being to sustain it. Aware that his doctrines were 
totally opposed to revealed truth, and foreseeing that 
they would bring upon him the punishments of the 
Church, he expressed himself in a cautious and apolo- 
getic manner, saying that he had only taken the liberty 
of trying whether, on the supposition of the earth's 


motion, it was possible to find better explanations than 
the ancient ones of the revolutions of the celestial orbs ; 
that in doing this he had only taken the privilege that 
had been allowed to others, of feigning what hypothesis 
they chose. The preface was addressed to Pope Paul 


Full of misgivings as to what might be the result, he 
refrained from publishing his book for thirty-six years, 
thinking that "perhaps it might be better to follow the 
examples of the Pythagoreans and others, who delivered 
their doctrine only by tradition and to friends." At 
the entreaty of Cardinal Schomberg he at length pub- 
lished it in 1543. A copy of it was brought to him on 
his death-bed. Its fate was such as he had anticipated. 
The Inquisition condemned it as heretical. In their de- 
cree, prohibiting it, the Congregation of the Index de- 
nounced his system as " that false Pythagorean doctrine 
utterly contrary to the Holy Scriptures." 

Astronomers justly affirm that the book of Coperni- 
cus, "De Eevolutionibus," changed the face of their 
science. It incontestably established the heliocentric 
theory. It showed that the distance of the fixed stars 
is infinitely great, and that the earth is a mere point 
in the heavens. Anticipating Newton, Copernicus im- 
puted gravity to the sun, the moon, and heavenly 
bodies, but he was led astray by assuming that the celes- 
tial motions must be circular. Observations on the 
orbit of Mars, and his different diameters at different 
times, had led Copernicus to his theory. 

In thus denouncing the Copemican system as being 
in contradiction to revelation, the ecclesiastical authori- 
ties were doubtless deeply moved by inferential consid- 
erations. To dethrone the earth from her central 
dominating position, to give her many equals and not a 


few superiors, seemed to diminish her claims upon the 
Divine regard. If each of the countless myriads of 
stars was a sun, surrounded by revolving globes, peo- 
pled with responsible beings like ourselves, if we had 
fallen so easily and had been redeemed at so stupendous 
a price as the death of the Son of God, how was it vnth 
them ? Of them ivere there none who had fallen or 
might fall like us ? Where, then, for them could a 
Savior be found ? 

During the year 1608 one Lippershey, a Hollander, 
discovered that, by looking through two glass lenses, 
combined in a certain manner together, distant objects 
were magnified and rendered very plain. He had in- 
vented the telescope. In the following year Galileo, a 
Florentine, greatly distinguished by his mathematical 
and scientific writings, hearing of the circumstance, but 
without knowing the particulars of the construction, 
invented a form of the instrument for himself. Im- 
proving it gradually, he succeeded in making one that 
could magnify thirty times. Examining the moon, he 
found that she had valleys like those of the earth, and 
mountains casting shadows. It had been said in the 
old times that in the Pleiades there were formerly seven 
stars, but a legend related that one of them had mysteri- 
ously disappeared. On turning his telescope toward 
them, Galileo found that he could easily count not fewer 
than forty. In whatever direction he looked, he dis- 
covered stars that were totally invisible to the naked 

On the night of January 7, 1610, he perceived three 
small stars in a straight line, adjacent to the planet 
Jupiter, and, a few evenings later, a fourth. He found 
that these were revolving in orbits round the body of 
the planet, and, with transport, recognized that they 


presented a miniature representation of the Copemicau 
system. . . 

The annomicement of these wonders at once attracted 
universal attention. The spiritual authorities were not 
slow to detect their tendency, as endangering the doc- 
trine that the universe was made for man. In the cre- 
ation of myriads of stars, hitherto invisible,' there must 
surely have been some other motive than that of illumi- 
nating the nights for him. 

It had been objected to the Copernican theory that,. 
if the planets Mercury and Yenus move round the sun 
in orbits interior to that of the earth, they ought to 
show phases like those of the moon ; and that in the 
case of Yenus, which is so brilliant and conspicuous, 
these phases should be very obvious. Copernicus him- 
seM had admitted the force of the objection, and had 
vainly tried to find an explanation. Galileo, on turning 
his telescope to the planet, discovered that the expected 
phases actually exist; now* she was a crescent, then 
half -moon, then gibbous, then full. Previously to 
Copernicus, it was supposed that the planets shine by 
their own light, but the phases of Yenus and Mars 
proved that their light is reflected. The Aristotelian 
notion, that celestial differ from terrestrial bodies in 
being incorruptible, received a rude shock f roni the dis- 
coveries of Galileo, that there are mountains and val- 
leys in the moon like those of the earth, that the sun is 
not perfect, but has spots on his face, and that he turns 
on his axis instead of being in a state of majestic rest. 
The apparition of new stars had abeady thrown serious 
doubts on this theory of incorruptibility. 

These and many other beautiful telescopic discov- 
eries tended to the establishment of the truth of the 
Copernican theory and gave unbounded alarm to the 


Churcli. By tlie low and ignorant ecclesiastics they 
were denounced as deceptions or frauds. Some affirmed 
that the telescope might be relied on well enough for 
terrestrial objects, but with the heavenly bodies it was 
altogether a different affair. Others declared that its 
invention was a mere application of Aristotle's remark 
that stars could be seen in the daytime from the bot- 
tom of a deep well. Galileo was accused of imposture, 
heresy, blasphemy, atheism. With a view of defend- 
ing himself, he addressed a letter to the Abbe Castelli, 
suggesting that the Scriptures were never intended to 
be a scientific authority, but only a moral guide. This 
made matters worse. He was summoned before the 
Holy Inquisition, under an accusation of having taught 
that the earth moves round the sun, a doctrine " utterly 
contrary to the Scriptures." He was ordered to re- 
nounce that heresy, on pain of being imprisoned. He 
was directed to desist from teaching and advocating the 
Copemican theory, and pledge himself that he would 
neither publish nor defend it for the future. Know- 
ing well that Truth has no need of martyrs, he assented 
to the required recantation, and gave the promise de- 

For sixteen years the Church had rest. But in 1632 
Galileo ventured on the publication of his work entitled 
" The System of the World," its object being the vindi- 
cation of the Copemican doctrine. He was again sum- 
moned before the Inqiiisition at Home, accused of hav- 
ing asserted that the earth moves round the sun. He 
was declared to have brought upon himself the penal- 
ties of heresy. On his knees, with his hand on the 
Bible, he was compelled to abjure and curse the doc- 
trine of the movement of the earth. "What a spectacle ! 
This venerable man, the most illustrious of his age, 


forced by the tlireat of deatli to deny facts which his 
judges as well as himself knew to be true I He was 
then committed to prison, treated with remorseless 
severity during the remaining ten years of his life, 
and was denied burial in consecrated ground. Must 
not that be false which requires for its support so much 
imposture, so much barbarity ? The opinions thus de- 
fended by the Inquisition are now objects of derision 
to the whole civilized world. 

One of the greatest of modem mathematicians, refer- 
ring to this subject, says that the point here contested 
was one which is for mankind of the highest interest, 
because of the rank it assigns to the globe that we in- 
habit. If the eartk be immovable in the midst of the 
universe, man has a right to regard himseM as the prin- 
cipal object of the care of Nature. But if the earth be 
only one of the planets revolving round the sun, an in- 
significant body in the solar system, she will disappear 
entirely in the immensity of the heavens, in which this 
system, vast as it may appear to us, is nothing but an 
insensible point. 

The triumphant establishment -of the Copemican 
doctrine dates from the invention of the telescope. 
Soon there was not to be found in all Europe an astron- 
omer who had not accepted the heliocentric theory with 
its essential postulate, the double motion of the earth — 
a movement of rotation on her axis, and a movement of 
revolution round the sun. If additional proof of the 
latter were needed, it was furnished by Bradley's great 
discovery of the aberration of the fixed stars, an aberra- 
tion depending partly on the progressive motion of light, 
and partly on the revolution of the earth. Bradley's 
discovery ranked in importance with that of the preces- • 
sion of the equinoxes. Roomer's discovery of the pro- 


gressive motion of light, thougli denounced by Fon- 
tenelle as a seductive error, and not admitted by Cas- 
sini, at length forced its way to universal acceptance. 

Next it was necessary to obtain correct ideas of the 
dimensions of the solar system, or, putting the problem 
under a more limited form, to determine the distance 
of the earth from the sun. 

In the time of Copernicus it was supposed that the 
sun's distance could not exceed five million miles, and 
indeed there were many who thought that estimate very 
extravagant. From a review of the observations of 
Tycho Brahe, Kepler, however, concluded that the error 
was actually in the opposite direction, and that the esti- 
mate must be raised to at least thirteen million. In 
16Y0 Cassini showed that these numbers were alto- 
gether inconsistent with the facts, and gave as his con- 
clusion eighty-five million. 

The transit of Yenus over the face of the sun, June 
3, 1769, had been foreseen, and its great value in the 
solution of this fundamental problem in astronomy 
appreciated. With commendable alacrity various gov- 
ernments contributed their assistance in making obser- 
vations, so that in Europe there were fifty stations, in 
Asia six, in America seventeen. It was for this pur- 
pose that the English Government dispatched Captain 
Cook on his celebrated first voyage. He went to Ota- 
heite. His voyage was crowned with success. The sun 
rose without a cloud, and the sky continued equally clear 
throughout the day. The transit at Cook's station lasted 
from about haK-past nine in the morning until about 
half-past three in tlie afternoon, and all the observations 
were made in a satisfactory manner. 

But, on the discussion of the observations made at 
the different stations, it was found that there was not 


the accordance that could have been desired — the result 
varying from eighty-eight to one hundred and nine 
million. The celebrated mathematician, Encke, there- 
fore reviewed them in 1822-24, and came to the conclu- 
sion that the sun's horizontal parallax, that is, the angle 
under which the semi-diameter of the earth is seen from 
the sun, is S ^^^ q- seconds ; this gave as the distance 
95,274,000 miles. Subsequently the observations were 
reconsidered by Hansen, who gave as their result 91,- 
659,000 miles. Still later, Leverrier made it 91,759,- 
000. Airy and Stone, by another method, made it 
91,400,000 ; Stone alone, by a revision of the old obser- 
vations, 91,730,000 ; and finally, Foucault and Fizeau, 
from physical experiments, determining the velocity of 
light, and therefore in their nature altogether differing 
from transit observations, 91,400,000. Until the results 
of the transit of next year (1874) are ascertained, it must 
therefore be admitted that the distance of the earth from 
the sun is somewhat less than ninety-two million miles. 

This distance once determined, the dimensions of the 
solar system may be ascertained with ease and precision. 
It is enough to mention that the distance of Neptune 
from the sun, the most remote of the planets at present 
known, is about thirty times that of the earth. 

By the aid of these numbers we may begin to gain 
a just appreciation of the doctrine of the human destiny 
of the universe — ^the doctrine that all things were made 
for man. Seen from the sun, the earth dwindles away 
to a mere speck, a mere dust-mote glistening in his. 
beams. If the reader wishes a more precise valuation, 
let him hold a page of this book a couple of feet from 
his eye ; then let him consider one of its dots or full- 
stops ; that dot is several hundred times larger in sur- 
face than is the earth as seen from the sun! 


Of what consequence, then, can such an ahnost im- 
:)erceptible particle be ? One might think that it could 
be removed or even annihilated, and yet never be missed. 
Of what consequence is one of those human monads, of 
whom more than a thousand millions swarm on the sur- 
face of this all but invisible speck, and of a million of 
whom scarcely one will leave a trace that he has ever 
existed ? Of what consequence is man, his pleasures or 
his pains ? 

Among the arguments brought forward against the 
Oopemican system at the time of its promulgation, was 
one by the great Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, origi- 
nally urged by Aristarchus against the Pythagorean 
system, to the effect that, if, as was alleged, the earth 
moves round the sun, there ought to be a change of the 
direction in which the fixed stars appear. At one time 
we are nearer to a particular region of the heavens- by a 
distance equal to the whole diameter of the earth's orbit 
than we were six months previously, and hence there 
ought to be a change in the relative position of the 
stars; they should seem to separate as we approach 
them, and to close together as we recede from them ; 
or, to use the astronomical expression, these stars should 
have a yearly parallax. 

The parallax of a star is the angle contained between 
two lines drawn from it — one to the sun, the other to 
the earth. 

At that time, the earth's distance from the sun was 
greatly under-estimated. Had it been known, as it is 
now, that that distance exceeds ninety million miles, or 
that the diameter of the orbit is more than one hundred 
and eighty million, that argument would doubtless have 
had very great weight. 

In reply to Tycho, it was said that, since the paral- 


lax of a body diminishes as its distance increases, a star 
may be so far off that its parallax may be imperceptible. 
This answer proved to be correct. The detection of the 
parallax of the stars depended on the improvement of 
instruments for the measurement of angles. 

The parallax of a Oentauri, a fine double star of the 
Southern Hemispl ere, at present considered to be the 
nearest of the fixed stars, was first determined by Hen- 
derson and Maclear at the Cape of Good Hope in 
1832-'33. It is about nine-tenths of a second. Hence 
this star is almost two hundred and thirty thousand 
times as far from us as the sun. Seen from it, if the 
sun were even large enough to fiU the whole orbit of 
the earth, or one hundred and eighty million miles in 
diameter, he would be a mere point. "With its com- 
panion, it revolves round their common centre of grav- 
ity ill eighty-one years, and hence it would seem that 
their conjoint mass is less than that of the sun. 

The star 61 Oygni is of the sixth magnitude. Its 
parallax was first found by Bessel in 1838, and is about 
one-third of a second. The distance from us is, there- 
fore, much more than five hundred thousand times that 
of the sun. With its companion, it revolves roimd their 
common centre of gravity in five hundred and twenty 
years. Their conjoint weight is about one-third that of 
the sun. 

There is reason to believe that the great star Sirius, 
the brightest in the heavens, is about six times as far off 
as a Centauri. His probable diameter is twelve million 
miles, and the light he emits two hundred times more 
brilliant than that of the sun. Tet, even through the 
telescope, he has no measurable diameter; he looks 
merely like a very bright spark. 

The stars, then, differ not merely in visible magni- 

BRUNO. 177 

tude, but also in actual size. As tlie spectroscope sliows, 
they differ greatly in chemical and physical constitution. 
That instrument is also revealing to us the duration of 
the life of a star, through changes in the ref rangibility 
of the emitted light. Though, as we have seen, the near- 
est to us is at an enormous and all but immeasurable dis- 
tance, this is but the first step — ^there are others the rays 
of which have taken thousands, perhaps millions, of years 
to reach us ! The limits of our own system are far be- 
yond the range of our greatest telescopes ; what, then, 
shall we say of other systems beyond ? Worlds are scat- 
tered like dust in the abysses in space. 

Have these gigantic bodies — ^myriads of which are 
placed at so vast a distance that our unassisted eyes can- 
not perceive them — ^have these no other purpose than 
that assigned by theologians, to give light to us ? Does 
not their enormous size demonstrate that, as they are 
centres of force, so they must be centres of motion — 
suns for other systems of worlds ? 

While yet these facts were very imperfectly known 
— indeed, were rather speculations than facts — Giordano 
Bruno, an Italian, born seven years after the death of 
Copernicus, published a work on the " Infinity of the 
Universe and of Worlds ; " he was also the author of 
" Evening Conversations on Ash-Wednesday," an apol- 
ogy for the Copemican system, and of " The One Sole 
Cause of Things." To these may be added an allegory 
published in 1584, " The Expulsion of the Triumphant 
Beast." He had also collected, for the use of future as- 
tronomers, all the observations he could find respecting 
the new star that suddenly appeared in Cassiopeia, a. d. 
1572, and increased in brilliancy, until it surpassed all 
the other stars. It could be plainly seen in the day- 
time. On a sudden, November 11th, it was as bright 

178 BRUNO. 

as Venus at her brightest. In the following March it 
was of the first magnitude. It exhibited various hues 
of color in a few months, and disappeared in March, 


The star that suddenly appeared in Serpentdrius, in 
Kepler's time (1604), was at first brighter than Yenus, 
It lasted more than a year, and, passing through various 
tints of purple, yellow, red, became extinguished. 

Originally, Bruno was intended for the Church. He 
had become a Dominican, but was led into doubt by his 
meditations on the subjects of transubstantiation and 
the immaculate conception. Not caring to conceal his 
opinions, he soon fell under the censure of the spiritual 
authorities, and found it necessary to seek refuge suc- 
cessively in Switzerland, France, England, Germany. 
The cold-scented sleuth-hounds of the Inquisition fol- 
lowed his track remorselessly, and eventually hunted 
him back to Italy. He was arrested in Venice, and 
confined in the Piombi for six years, without books, or 
paper, or friends. 

In England he had given lectures on the plurality 
of worlds, and in that country had written, in Italian, 
his most important works. It added not a little to the 
exasperation against him, that he was perpetually de- 
claiming against the insincerity, the impostures, of his 
persecutors — ^that wherever he went he found skepti- 
cism varnished over and concealed by hypocrisy ; and 
that it was not against the belief of men, but against 
their pretended belief, that he was fighting ; that he 
waa struggling with an orthodoxy that had neither 
morality nor faith. 

In his "Evening Conversations" he had insisted 
that the Scriptures were never intended to teach science, 
but morals only ; and that thev cannot be received as oi 


any authority on astronomical and physical subjects. 
Especially must we reject the view they reveal to us of 
the constitution of the world, that the earth is a fiat sur- 
face, supported on pillars ; that the sky is a firmament — 
the floor of heaven. On the contrary, we must believe 
that the universe is infinite, and that it is filled, with 
self-luminous and opaque worlds, many of them in- 
habited ; that there is nothing above and around us but 
space and stars. His meditations on these subjects had 
brought him to the conclusion that the views of Aver- 
roes are not far from the truth — that there is an Intel- 
lect which animates the universe, and of this Intellect 
the visible world is only an emanation or manifestation, 
originated and sustained by force derived from it, and, 
were that force withdrawn, aU things would disappear. 
This ever-present, all-pervading Intellect is God, who 
lives in all things, even such as seem not to live ; that 
every thing is ready to become organized, to burst into 
life. God is, therefore, "the One Sole Cause of 
Things," "theAUinAll." 

Bruno may hence be considered among philosophical 
writers as intermediate between Averroes and Spinoza. 
The latter held that God and the Universe are the same, 
that all events happen by an iromutable law of Nature, 
by an imconquerable necessity ; that God is the Uni- 
verse, producing a series of necessary movements or 
acts, in consequence of intrinsic, unchangeable, and ir- 
resistible energy. 

On the demand of the spiritual authorities, Bruno 
was removed from Yenice to Home, and confined in the 
prison of the Inquisition, accused not only of being a 
heretic, but also a heresiarch, who had written things 
imseemly concerning religion ; the special charge against 
him being that he had taught the plurality of worlds, a 


doctrine repugnant to tlie whole tenor of Scripture and 
inimical to revealed religion, especially as regards the 
plan of salvation. After an imprisonment of two years 
he was brought before his judges, declared guilty of the 
acts alleged, excommunicated, and, on his nobly refusing 
to recant, was delivered over to the secular authorities 
to be punished " as mercifully as possible, and without 
the shedding of his blood,^' the, horrible formula for 
burning a prisoner at the stake. Elbowing well that 
though his tormentors might destroy his body, his 
thoughts would still live among men, he said to his 
judges, " Perhaps it is with greater fear that you pass 
the sentence upon me than I receive it." The sentence 
was carried into effect, and he was burnt at Kome, 
February 16th, a. d. 1600. 

No one can recall without sentiments of pity the 
sufferings of those countless martyrs, who first by one 
party, and then by another, have been brought for their 
religious opinions to the stake. But each of these had 
in his supreme, moment a powerful and unfailing sup- 
port. The passage from this life to the next, though 
through a hard trial, was the passage from a transient 
trouble to eternal happiness, an escape from the cruelty 
of earth to the charity of heaven. On his way through 
the dark valley the martyr believed that there was an 
invisible hand that would lead him, a friend that would 
guide him all the more gently and firmly because of the 
terrors of the flames. For Bruno there was no such 
support. The philosophical opinions, for the sake of 
which he surrendered his life, could give him no con- 
solation. He must fight the last fight alone. Is there 
not something very grand in the attitude of this solitary 
man, something which human nature cannot help ad- 
miring, as he stands in the gloomy hall before his inex 


orable judges? No accuser, no witness, no advocate is 
present, but the familiars of the Holy Office, clad in 
black, are stealthily moving about. The tormentors and 
the rack are in the vaults below. He is simply told 
that he has brought upon himself strong suspicions of 
heresy, since he has said that there are other worlds than 
ours. He is asked if he will recant and abjure his error. 
He cannot and will not deny what he knows to be true, 
and perhaps — ^f or he had often done so before — ^he tells 
his judges that they, too, in their hearts are of the same 
belief. What a contrast between this scene of manly 
honor, of nnshaken firmness, of inflexible adherence to 
the truth, and that other scene which took place more 
than fifteen centuries previously by the fireside in the 
hall of Caiaphas the high-priest, when the cock crew, 
and " the Lord turned and looked upon Peter " (Luke 
xxii. 61) I And yet it is upon Peter that the Church 
has grounded her right to act as she did to Bruno. 

But perhaps the day approaches when posterity will 
offer an expiation for this great ecclesiastical crime, and 
a statue of Bruno be unveiled under the dome of St. 
Peter's at Eome. 



Scriptural view that the Earth is only six thousand years old^ and that U 
was made in a week. — Patristic chronology founded on the ages of the 
patriarchs. — Difficulties arising from different estimates in different 
versions of the Bible. 

Legend of the Deluge. — 7%e repeopling. — The Tower of Babel; the con- 
fusion of tongues. — The primitive language. 

Discovery by Cassini of the oblaieness of the planet Jupiter. — Discovery by 
Newton of the oblaieness of the Eatth. — Deduction that she has been 
modeled by mechanical causes. — Confirmation of this by geological 
discoveries respecting aqueous rocks; corroboration by organic rC' 
mains. — The necessity of admitting enormously long periods of time. 
— Displacement of the doctrine of Creation by that of Evolution — 
Discoveries reacting the Antiquity of Man^ 

The tim£^cale and space-scale of the world are infinite. — Moderation with 
which the discussion of the Age of the World has been conducted. 

The true position of tlie earth in the universe was 
established only after a long and severe conflict. The 
Church used whatever power she had, even to the in- 
•fliction of death, for sustaining her ideas. But it was 
in vain. The evidence in bdialf of the Copemican 
theory became irresistible. It was at length universally 
admitted that the sun is the central, the ruling body 
of our system ; the earth only one, and by no means the 
largest, of a family of encircling planets. 

Taught by the issue of that dispute, when the ques- 


tion of the age of the world presented itself for con- 
sideration, the Church did not exhibit the active resist- 
ance she had displayed on the former occasion. For, 
though her traditions were again put in jeopardy, they 
were not, in her judgment, so vitally assailed. To de- 
throne the Earth from her dominating position was, so 
the spiritual authorities declared, to undermine the very 
foundation of revealed truth ; but discussions respecting 
the date of creation might within certain limits be per- 
mitted. Those limits were, however, very quickly over- 
passed, and thus the controversy became as dangerous as 
the former one had been. 

It -fras not possible to adopt the advice given by 
Plato in his *' Timseus," when treating of this subject — 
the origin of the universe : " It is proper that both I 
who speak and you who judge should remember that 
we are but men, and therefore, receiving the probable 
mythological tradition, it is meet that we inquire no 
further into it.'' Since the time of St. Augustine the 
Scriptures had been made the great and final authority 
in all matters of science, and theologians had deduced 
from them schemes of chronology and cosmogony which 
had proved to be stumbling-blocks to the advance of 
real knowledge. 

It is not necessary for us to do more than to allude 
to some of the leading features of these schemes ; their 
peculiarities will be easily discerned with suflScient clear- 
ness. Thus, from the six days of creation and the Sab- 
bath-day of rest, since we are told that a day is with the 
Lord as a thousand years, it was inferred that the dura- 
tion of the world will be through six thousand years of 
suffering, and an additional thousand, a millennium of 
rest. It was generally admitted that the earth was 
about four thousand years old at the birth of Christ, ^ 


but, SO careless had Europe been in the study of its 
annals, that not until a. d. 527 had it a proper chronol- 
ogy of its own. A Eoman abbot, Dionysius Exiguus, 
or Dennis the Less, then fixed the vulgar era, and gave 
Europe its present Christian chronology. 

The method followed in obtaining the earliest chro- 
nological, dates was by computations, mainly founded 
on the lives of the patriarchs. Much difficulty was en- 
countered in reconciling numerical discrepancies. Even 
if, as was taken for granted in those uncritical ages, 
Moses was the author of the books imputed to him, due 
weight was not given to the fact that he related events, 
many of which took place more than two thousand years 
before he was bom. It scarcely seemed necessary to 
regard the Pentateuch as of plenary inspiration, since no 
means had been provided to perpetuate its correctness. 
The different copies which had escaped the chances 
of time varied very much ; thus the Samaritan made 
thirteen hundred and seven years from the Creation 
to the Deluge, the Hebrew sixteen himdred and fifty-' 
six, the Septuagint twenty-two hundred and sixty- 
three. The Septuagint counted fifteen hundred years 
more from the Creation to Abraham than the Hebrew. 
In general, however, there was an inclination to the 
supposition that the Deluge took place about two thou- 
sand years after the Creation, and, after another interval 
of two thousand years, Christ was bom. Persons who 
had given much attention to the subject affirmed that 
there were not less than one hundred and thirty-two 
different opinions as to the year in which the Messiah 
appeared, and hence they declared that it was inexpedi- 
ent to press for acceptance the Scriptural numbers too 
closely, since it was plain, from the great differences in 
different copies, that there had been no providential 


intervention to perpetuate a correct reading, noif was 
there any mark by which men could be guided to the 
only authentic version. Even those held in the highest 
esteem contained imdeniable errors. Thus the Septua- 
gint made Methuselah live until after the Deluge. 

It was thought that, in the antediluvian world, the 
year consisted of three hundred and sixty days. Some 
even aflSrmed that this was the origin of the division 
of the ciKjle into three hundred and sixty degrees. At 
the time of the Deluge, so many theologians declared, 
the motion of the sun was altered, and the year became 
five days and six hours longer. There was a prevalent 
opinion that that stupendous event occurred on Novem- 
ber 2d, in the year of the world 1656. Dr. Whiston, 
however, disposed to greater precision, inclined to post- 
pone it to November 28th. Some thought that the 
rainbow was not seen imtil after the flood ; others, ap- 
parently with better reason, inferred that it was then 
first established as a sign. On coming forth from the 
ark, men received permission to use flesh as food, the 
antediluvians having been herbivorous I It would 
seem that the Deluge had not occasioned any great 
geographical changes, for Noah, relying on his antedilu- 
vian knowledge, proceeded to divide the earth among 
his three sons, giving to Japhet Europe, to Shem Asia, 
to Ham Africa. No provision was made for America, 
as he did not know of its existence. These patriarchs, 
undeterred by the terrible solitudes to which they were 
going, by the undrained swamps and untracked for- 
ests, journeyed to their allotted possessions, and com- 
menced the settlement of the continents. 

In seventy years the Asiatic family had increased 
to several hundred. They had found their way to the 
plains of Mesopotamia, and there, for some motive that 


we dSmnot divine, began building a tower " whose top 
might reach to heaven." Ensebius informs ns that the 
work continned for forty years. They did not abandon 
it until a miraculous confusion of their language took 
place and dispersed them aU over the earth. . St. Am- 
brose shows that this confusion could not have been 
brought about by men. Origen believes that not even 
the angels accomplished it. 

The confusion of tongues has given rise 4;o many 
curious sJ)eculations among divines as to the primitive 
speech of man. Some have thought that the language 
of Adam consisted altogether of nouns, that they were 
monosyllables, and that the confusion was occasioned by 
the introduction of polysyllables. But these learned 
men must surely have overlooked the numerous conver- 
sations reported in Genesis, such as those between the 
Almighty and Adam, the serpent and Eve, etc. In 
these all the various parts of speech occur. There was, 
however, a coincidence of opinion that the primitive 
language was Hebrew. On the general principles of 
patristicism, it was fitting that this should be the case. 

The Greek Fathers computed that, at the time of 
the dispersion, seventy-two nations were formed, and in 
this conclusion St. Augustine coincides. But difficulties 
seem to have been recognized in these computations ; 
thus the learned Dr. Shuckford, who has treated very 
elaborately on all the foregoing points in his excellent 
work " On the Sacred and Profane BUstory of the World 
connected," demonstrates that there could not have been 
more than twenty-one or twenty-two men, women, and 
children, in each of those kingdoms. 

A very vital point in this system of chronological 
computation, based upon the ages of the patriarchs, was 
the great length of Kf e to which those worthies attained. 


It was generally supposed that before the Flood " there 
was a perpetual equinox," and no vicissitudes in Nature. 
After that event the standard of life dimmished one- 
half, and in the time of the Psalmist it had sunk to 
seventy years, at which it still remains. Austerities of 
climate were affirmed to have arisen through the shifting 
of the earth's axi^ at the Flood, and to this ill effect were 
added the noxious influences of that universal catastro- 
phe, which, " converting the surface of the earth into a 
vast swamp, gave rise to fermentations of the blood 
and a weakening of the fibres." 

With a view of avoiding difficulties arising from the 
extraordinary length of the patriarchal lives, certain 
divines suggested that the years spoken of by the sacred 
penman were not ordinary but lunar years. This, 
though it might bring the age of those venerable men 
within the recent term of life, introduced, however, 
another insuperable difficulty, since it made them have 
children when only five or six years old. 

Sacred science, as interpreted by the Fathers of the 
Church, demonstrated these facts: 1.. That the date of 
Creation was comparatively recent, not more than four 
or five thousand years before Christ ; 2. That the act of 
Creation occupied the space of six ordinary days; 3. 
That the Deluge was imiversal, and that the animals 
which survived it were preserved in an ark ; 4. That 
Adam was created perfect in morality and intelligence, 
that he fell, and that his descendants have shared in his 
sin and his fall. 

Of these points and others that might be mentioned 
there were two on which ecclesiastical authority felt 
that it must insist. These were : 1. The recent date of 
Creation ; for, the remoter that event, the more urgent 
the necessity of vindicating the justice of God, who ap- 


parently had left the majority of our race to its fate, 
and had reserved salvation for the few who were living 
in the closing ages of the world ; 2. The perfect con- 
dition of Adam at his creation, since this was necessary 
to the theory of the fall, and the plan of salvation. 

Theological authorities were therefore constrained 
to look with disfavor on any attempt to carry back the 
origin of the earth to an epoch indefinitely remote, and 
on the Mohammedan theory of the evolution of man 
from lower forms, or his gradual development to his 
present condition in the long lapse of time. 

From the puerilities, absurdities, and contradictions 
of the foregoing statement, we may gather how very un- 
satisfactory this so-called sacred science was. And per- 
haps we may be brought to the conclusion to which Dr. 
Shuckf ord, above quoted, was constrained to come, after 
his wearisome and unavailing attempt to coordinate its 
various parts : " As to the Fathers of the first ages of 
the Church, they were good men, but not men of uni- 
versal learning." 

Sacred cosmogony regards the formation and mod- 
eling of the earth as the direct act of God ; it rejects 
ike intervention of secondary causes in those events. 

Scientific cosmogony dates from the telescopic dis- 
covery made by Cassini — an Italian astronomer, under 
whose care Louis XIV. placed the Observatory of Paris 
— that the planet Jupiter is not a sphere, but an oblate 
spheroid, fiattened at the poles. Mechanical philosophy 
demonstrated that such a figure is the necessary result 
of the rotation of a yielding mass, and that the more 
rapid the rotation the greater the fiattening, or, what 
comes to the same thing, the greater the equatoiial bulg- 
ing must be. 


From considerations — purely of a mechanical kind — 
Newton had foreseen that such likewise, though to a 
less striking extent, must be the figure of the earth. 
To the protuberant mass is due the precession of the 
equinoxes, which requires twenty-five thousand eight 
hundred and sixty-eight years for its completion, and 
also the nutation of the earth's axis, discovered by 
Bradley. We have ali^eady had occasion to remark 
that the earth's equatorial diameter exceeds the polar by 
about twenty-six miles. 

Two facts are revealed by the oblateness of the 
earth : 1. That she has formerly been in a yielding 
or plastic condition ; 2. That she has been modeled by a 
mechanical and therefore a secondary cause. 

But this influence of mechanical causes is mani- 
fested not only in the exterior configuration of the 
globe of the earth as a spheroid of revolution, it also 
plainly appears on an examination of the arrangement 
of her substance. 

If we ponsider the aqueous rocks, their aggregate is 
many miles in thickness; yet they imdeniably have 
beei^ of slow deposit. The material of which they con- 
sist has been obtained by the disintegration of ancient 
lands ; it has found its way into the water-courses, and 
by them been distributed anew. Effects of this kind, 
taking place before our eyes, require a very consid- 
erable lapse of time to produce a well-marked result — 
a water deposit may in this manner measure in thick- 
ness a few inches in a century — ^what, then, shall we 
say as to the time consumed in the formation of depos- 
it s of many thousand yards ? 

The position of the coast-line of Egypt has been 
known for much more than two thousand years. In 
that time it has made, by reason of the detritus brought 


down by the Nile, a distinctly-marked encroachment 
on the Mediterranean. But all Lower Egypt has had 
a similar origin. The coast-line near the mouth of the 
Mississippi has been well known for three hundred 
years, and during that time has scarcely made a percep- 
tible advance on the Gulf of Mexico ; but there was a 
time when the delta of that river was at St. Louis, more 
than seven hundred miles from its present position. In 
Egypt and in America — ^in fact, in all coimtries — ^the 
rivers have been inch by inch prolonging the land into 
the* sea ; the slowness of their work and the vastness of 
its extent satisfy us that we must concede for the opera- 
tion enormous periods of time. 

To the same conclusion we are brought if we con- 
sider the filHng of lakes, the deposit of travertines, the 
denudation of hills, the cutting action of the sea on its 
shores, the undermining of cliffs, the weathering of 
rocks by atmospheric water and carbonic acid. 

Sedimentary strata must have been originally de- 
posited in planes nearly horizontal. Vast ^umbers of 
them have been forced, either by paroxysms at intervals 
or by gradual movement, into all manner of angular in- 
clinations. "Whatever explanations we may offer of 
these innumerable and immense tilts and fractures, they 
would seem to demand for their completion an incon- 
ceivable length of time. 

The coal-bearing strata in Wales, by their gradual 
submergence, have attained a thickness of 12,000 feet; 
in Nova Scotia of 14,570 feet. So slow and so steady 
was this submergence, that erect trees stand one above 
another on successive levels ; seventeen such repetitions 
may be counted in a thickness of 4,515 feet. The age 
of the trees is proved by their size, some being four feet 
in diameter. Round them, as they gradually went 


down with the subsiding soil, calamites grew, at one 
level after another. In the Sydney coal-field fifty-nine 
fossil forests occur in superposition. 

Marine shells, found on mountain-tops far in the 
interior of continents, were regarded by theological writ- 
ers as an indisputable illustration of the Deluge. But 
when, as geological studies became more exact, it was 
proved that in the crust of the earth vast fresh-water for- 
mations are repeatedly intercalated with vast marine 
ones, like the leaves of a book, it became evident that 
no single cataclysm was suflicient to account for such 
results; that the same region, through gradual varia- 
tions of its level and changes in its topographical sur- 
roundings, had sometimes been dryland, sometimes cov- 
ered with fresh and sometimes with sea water. It be- 
came evident also that, for the completion of these 
changes, tens of thousands of years were required. 

To this evidence of a remote origin of the earth, 
derived from the vast superficial extent, the enormous 
thickness, and the varied characters of its strata, was 
added an imposing body of proof depending on its fos- 
sil remains. The relative ages of formations having 
been ascertained, it was shown that there has been an 
advancing physiological progression of organic forms, 
both vegetable and animal, from the oldest to the most 
recent; that those which inhabit the surface in our 
times are but an insignificant fraction of the prodi- 
gious multitude that have inhabited it heretofore ; that 
for each species now living there are thousands that 
have become extinct. Though special formations are 
so strikingly characterized by some predominating type 
of life as to justify such expressions as the age of mol- 
lusks, the age of reptiles, the age of manmaals, the intro- 
duction of the new-comers did not take place abruptly. 


as by sudden creation. They gradually emerged m an 
antecedent age, reached their culmination in the one 
which they characterize, and then gradually died out in 
a succeeding. There is no such thing as a sudden crea- 
tion, a sudden strange appearance — ^but there is a slow 
metamorphosis, a slow development from a preexisting 
form. Here again we encounter the necessity of ad- 
mitting for such results long periods of time. "Within 
the range of history no well-marked instance of such 
development has been witnessed, and we speak with 
hesitation of doubtful instances of extinction. Yet in 
geological times myriads of evolutions and extinctions 
have occurred. 

Since thus, within the experience of man, no case of 
metamorphosis or development has been observed, some 
have been disposed to deny its possibility altogether, 
affirming that all the different species have come into 
existence by separate creative acts. But surely it is less 
unphilosophical to suppose that each species has been 
evolved from a predecessor by a modification of its 
parts, than that it has suddenly started into existence 
out of nothing. Nor is there much weight in the re- 
mark that no man has ever witnessed such a transfor- 
mation taking place. Let it be remembered that no 
man has ever witnessed an act of creation, the sudden 
appearance of an organic form, without any progenitor. 

Abrupt, arbitrary, disconnected creative acts may 
serve to illustrate the Divine power ; but that continu- 
ous unbroken chain of organisms which extends from 
palaeozoic formations to the formations of recent times, 
a chain in which each link hangs on a preceding and 
sustains a succeeding one, demonstrates to us not only 
that the production of animated beings is governed by 
law, but that it is by law that has undergone no change. 


In its operation, througli myriads of ages, there has been 
no variation, no suspension. 

The foregoing paragraphs may serve to indicate the 
character of a portion of the evidence with which we 
must deal in considering the problem of the age of the 
earth. Through the unmtermitting labors of geologists, 
60 immense a mass has been accumulated, that many 
volumes would be required to contain the details. It 
is drawn from the phenomena presented by all kinds 
of rocks, aqueous, igneous, metamorphic. Of aqueous 
rocks it investigates the thickness, the inclined positions, 
and how they rest unconf ormably on one another ; how 
those that are of fresh-water origin are intercalated with 
those that are marine ; how vast masses of material have 
been removed by slow-acting causes of denudation, and 
extensive geographical surfaces have been remodeled ; 
how continents have undergone movements of elevation 
and depression, their shores sunk under the ocean, or 
sea-beaches and sea-clifEs carried far into the interior. 
It considers the zoological and botanical facts, the fauna 
and flora of the successive ages, and how in an orderly 
maimer the chain of organic forms, plants, and animals, 
has been extended, from its dim and doubtful begin- 
nings to our own times. From fects presented by the 
deposits of coal — coal which, in all its varieties, has 
originated from the decay of plants — it not only demon- 
strates the changes that have taken place in the earth's 
atmosphere, but also universal changes of climate. From 
other facts it proves that there have been oscillations of 
temperature, periods in which the mean heat has risen, 
and periods in which the polar ices and snows have 
covered large portions of the existing continents — ^gla- 
cial periods, as they are termed. 

One school of geologists, resting its argument on 


very imposing evidence, teaches that the whole mass of 
the earth, from being in a molten, or perhaps a vaporous 
condition, has cooled by radiation in the lapse of mill- 
ions of ages, nntil it has reached its present equilibrium 
of temperature. Astronomical observations give great 
weight to this interpretation, especially so far as the 
planetary bodies of the solar system are concerned. It 
is also supported by such facts as the small mean den- 
sity of the earth, the increasing temperature at increas- 
ing depths, the phenomena of volcanoes and injected 
veins, and those of igneous and metamorphic rocks. 
To satisfy the physical changes which this school of 
geologists contemplates, myriads of centuries are re- 

But, with the views that the adoption of the Oo- 
pemican system has given us, it is plain that we can- 
not consider the origin and biography of the earth 
in an isolated way ; we must include with her all the 
other members of the system or family to .which she 
belongs. Nay, more, we cannot restrict ourselves to 
the solar system; we must embrace in our discus- 
sions the starry worlds. And, since we have become 
familiarized with their almost immeasurable distances 
from one another, we are prepared to accept for their 
origin an immeasurably remote time. There are stars 
so far off that their light, fast as it travels, has taken 
thousands of years to reach us, and hence they must 
have been in existence many thousands of years ago. 

Geologists having unanimously agreed — ^for perhaps 
there is not a single dissenting voice — ^that the chronolo- 
gy of the earth must be greatly extended, attempts have 
been made to give precision to it. Some of these have 
been based on astronomical, some on physical principles. 
Thus calculations founded on the known changes of the 


eccentricity of the earth's orbit, with a view of deter- 
mining the lapse of time since the beginning of the 
last glacial period, have given two hundred and forty 
thousand years. Though the general postulate of the 
immensity of geological times may be conceded, such 
calculations are on too uncertain a theoretical basis to 
furnish incontestable results. 

But, considering the whole subject from the present 
scientific stand-point, it is very clear that the views pre- 
sented by theological writers, as derived from the Mo- 
saic record, cannot be admitted. Attempts have been 
repeatedly made to reconcile the revealed with the dis- 
covered facts, but they have proved to be unsatisfactory. 
The Mosaic time is too short, the order of creation in- 
correct, the divine interventions too anthropomorphic ; 
and, though the presentment of the subject is in har- 
mony with the ideas that men have entertained, when 
first their minds were turned to the acquisition of natu- 
ral knowledge, it is not in accordance with their present 
conceptions of the insignificance of the earth and the 
grandeur of the universe. 

Among late geological discoveries is one of special 
interest ; it is the detection of human remains and hu- 
man works in formations which, though geologically 
recent, are historically very remote. 

The fossil remains of men, with rude implements 
of rough or chipped flint, of polished stone, of bone, of 
bronze, are found in Europe in caves, in drifts, in peat- 
beds. They indicate a savage life, spent in hunting and 
fishing. Eecent researches give reason to believe that, 
under low and base grades, the existence of man can be 
traced back into the tertiary times. He was contempo- 
rary with the southern elephant, the rhinoceros lepto- 


rhinufl, the great Mppopotamus, perhaps even in the mio- 
cepe contemporary with the mastodon. 

At the close of the Tertiary period, from causes not 
yet determined, the Northern Hemisphere underwent 
a great depression of temperature. From a torrid it 
passed to a glacial condition. After a period of prodi- 
gious length, the temperature again rose, and the glaciers 
that had so extensively covered the surface receded. 
Once more there was a decline in the heat, and the gla- 
ciers again advanced, but this time not so far as former- 
ly. This ushered in the Quaternary period, during 
which very slowly the temperature came to its present 
degree. The water deposits that were being made re- 
quired thousands of centuries for their completion. At 
the beginning of the Quaternary period there were ahve 
the cave-bear, the cave-lion, the amphibious hippopota- 
mus, the rhinoceros with chambered nostrils, the mam- 
moth. In fact, the mammoth swarmed. He delighted 
in a boreal climate. By degrees the reindeer, the horse, 
the ox, the bison, multiplied, and disputed with him his 
food. Partly for this reason, and partly because of the 
increasing heat, he became extinct. From middle Eu- 
rope, also, the reindeer retired. His departure marks 
the end of the Quaternary period. 

Since the advent of man on the earth, we have, 
therefore, to deal with periods of incalculable length. 
Vast changes in the climate and fauna were produced 
by the slow operation of causes such as are in action at 
the present day. Figures cannot enable us to appreciate 
these enormous lapses of time. 

It seems to be satisfactorily established, that a race 
allied to the Basques may be traced back to the Neo- 
lithic age. At that time the British Islands were un- 
dergoing a change of level, like that at present occur- 


ring in the Scandinavian Peninsula. Scotland was rising, 
England was sinking. In the Pleistocene age there ex- 
isted in Central Europe a rude race of hunters and fish- 
ers closely allied to the Esquimaux. 

In the old glacial drift of Scotland the relics of man 
are found along with those of the fossil elephant. This 
carries us back to that time above referred to, when a 
large portion of Europe was covered with ice, which 
had edged down from the polar regions to southerly 
latitudes, and, as glaciers, descended from the summits 
of the mountain-chains into the plains. Countless spe- 
cies of animals perished in this cataclysm of ice and 
snow, but man survived. 

In his primitive savage condition, living for the 
most part on fruits, roots, shell-fish, man was in posses- 
sion of a fact which was certain eventually to insure 
his civilization. He knew how to make a fire. In peat- 
beds, under the remains of trees that in those localities 
have long ago become extinct, his relics are still found, 
the implements that accompany him indicating a dis- 
tinct chronological order. Near the surface are those of 
bronze, lower down those of bone or horn, still lower 
those of polished stone, and beneath all those of chipped 
or rough stone. The date of the origin of some of these 
beds cannot be estimated at less than forty or fifty thou- 
sand years. 

The caves that have been examined in France and 
elsewhere have furnished for the Stone age axes, knives, 
lance and arrow points, scrapers, hammers. The change 
from what may be termed the chipped to the polished 
stone period is very gradual. It coincides with the 
domestication of the dog, an epoch in hunting-life. It 
embKfcces thousands of centuries. The appearance of 
arrow-heads indicates the invention of the bow, and the 


rise of nian from a defensive to an oflEensive mode of 
life. The introduction of barbed arrows shows how in- 
ventive talent was displaying itself ; bone and horn tips, 
that the hmitsman was including smaller animals, and 
perhaps birds, in his chase ; bone whistles, his compan- 
ionship with other huntsmen or with his dog. The 
scraping-knives of flint indicate the use of skin for 
clothing, and rude bodkiQS and needles its manufacture. 
Shells perforated for bracelets and necklaces prove how 
soon a taste for personal adornment was acquired ; the 
implements necessary for the preparation of pigments 
suggest the painting of the body, and perhaps tattooing ; 
and batons of rank bear witness to the beginning of a 
social organization. 

"With the utmost interest we look upon the first 
germs of art among these primitive men. They have 
left us rude sketches on pieces of ivory and flakes of 
bone, and carvings, of the animals contemporary with 
them. In these prehistoric delineations, sometimes not 
without spirit, we have mammoths, combats of rein- 
deer. One presents us with a man harpooning a fish, 
another a hunting-scene of naked men armed with the 
dart. Man is the only animal who has the propensity 
of depicting external forms, and of availing himself of 
the use of fire. 

SheU-mounds, consisting of bones and shells, some 
of which may be justly described as of vast extent, and 
of a date anterior to the Bronze age, and full of stone 
implements, bear in aU their parts indications of the use 
of fire. These are often adjacent to the existing coasts ; 
sometimes, however, they arfe far inland, in certain in- 
stances as far as fifty miles. Their contents and posi- 
tion indicate for them a date posterior to that of the 
great extinct mammals, but prior to the domesticated. 


Some of these, it is said, cannot be less than one hundred 
thousand years old. 

The lake-dwellings in Switzerland — ^huts built on 
piles or logs, wattled with boughs — were, as may be in- 
ferred from the accompanying implements, begun in the 
Stone age, and continued into that of Bronze. In the 
latter period the evidences become numerous of the 
adoption of an agricultural life. 

It must not be supposed that the periods into which 
geologists have found it convenient to divide the prog- 
ress of man in civilization are abrupt epochs, which 
hold good simultaneously for the whole human race. 
Thus the wandering Indians of America are only at the 
present moment emerging from the Stone age. They 
are still to be seen in many places armed with arrows, 
tipped with flakes of flint. It is but as yesterday that 
some have obtained, from the white man, iron, fire-arms, 
and the horse. 

So far as investigations have gone, they indisputably 
refer the existence of man to a date remote from us 
by many himdreds of thousands of years. It must be 
borne in mind that these investigations are quite recent, 
and confined to a very limited geographical space. No 
researches have yet been made in those regions which 
might reasonably be regarded as the primitive habitat 
of man. 

We are thus carried back immeasurably beyond the 
six thousand years of Patristic chronology. It is diffi- 
cult to assign a shorter date for the last glaciation of 
Europe than a quarter of a million of years, and human 
existence antedates that. But not only is it this grand 
fact that confronts us, we have to admit also a primitive 
animalized state, and a slow, a gradual development. 

But this forlorn, this savage condition of humanity 


is in strong contrast to the paradisiacal happiness of the 
garden of Eden, and, what is far more serious, it is incon- 
sistent with the theory of the Fall. 

I have been induced to place the subject of this 
chapter out of its proper chronological order, for the 
sake of presenting what I had to say respecting the na- 
ture of the world more completely by itself. The dis- 
cussions that arose as to the age of the earth were long 
after the conflict as to the criterion of truth — ^that is, 
after the Kef ormation ; indeed, they were substantially 
included in the present century. They have been con- 
ducted with so much moderation as to justify the term 
I have used in the title of this chapter, " Controversy," 
rather than " Conflict.'' Geology has not had to en- 
counter the vindictive opposition with which astronomy 
was assailed, and, though, on her part, she has insisted 
on a concesfflon of great antiquity for the earth, she has 
herself pointed out the unreliability of all numerical 
estimates thus far offered. The attentive reader of this 
chapter cannot have failed to observe inconsistencies in 
the numbers quoted. Though wanting the merit of ex- 
actness, those numbers, however, justify the claim of 
vast antiquity, and draw us to the conclusion that the 
time-scale of the world answers to the space-scale in 



Ancient phUoiophy declare thai man Tuts no means of ascertaining the 

Differences of belie/ arise among the early Christians. — An ineffectual at- 
tempt is made to remedy them by Councils, — Miracle and ordeal proof 

The papacy resorts to auricular confession and the Inquisition. — It per- 
petrates frightful atrodiies for the suppression of differences of 

Effect of the discovery of the Pandects of Justinian and development of the 
canon law on the nature of evidence, — It becomes more scientific. 

The Reformation establishes the rights of individual reason. — Catholicism 
asserts that the criterion of truth is in the Church, It restrains the 
reading of books by the Index ExpurgatoriuSy and combats dissent 
by such means as the massacre of St. Bartholomew's Eve. 

Examination of the authenticity of the Pentateuch as the Protestant crite- 
rion. — Spurious character of those books. 

For Science the criterion of truth is to be found in the revelations of Na- 
ture : for the Protestant^ it is in (he Scriptures ; for^ the Catholic^ in 
an infallible Pope, 

" What is truth ? " was the passionate demand of a 
Roman procurator on one of the most momentous occa- 
sions in history. And the Divine Person who stood 
before him, to whom the interrogation was addressed, 
made no reply — unless, indeed, silence contained the 

Often and vainly had that demand been made before 


— often and vainly has it been made since. No one has 
yet given a satisfactory answer. 

When, at the dawn of science in Greece, the ancient 
religion was disappearing like a mist at smirise, the 
pious and thoughtful men of that country were thrown 
into a condition of intellectual despair. Anaxagoras 
plaintively exclaims, " Nothing can be known, nothing 
can be learned, nothing can be certain, sense is limited, 
intellect is weak, life is short.'^ Xenophanes tells us 
that it is impossible for us to be certain even when we 
utter the truth. Parmenides declares that the very con- 
stitution of man prevents him froi ascertaining abso- 
lute truth. Empedodes affirms that all philosophical 
and religious systems must be unreliable, because we 
have no criterion by which to test them. Democritus 
asserts that even things that are true cannot impart cer- 
tainty to us ; that the final result of human inquiry is 
the discovery that man is incapable of absolute knowl- 
edge ; that, even if the truth be in his possession, he 
cannot be certain of it. Pyrrho bids us reflect on the 
necessity of suspending our judgment of thiogs, since 
we have no criterion of truth ; so deep a distrust did he 
impart to his followers, that they were in the habit of 
saying, " We assert nothing ; no, not even that we assert 
nothing." Epicurus taught his disciples that truth 
can never be determined by reason. Arcesilaus, deny- 
ing both intellectual and sensuous knowledge, publicly 
avowed that he knew nothing, not even his own igno- 
rance ! The general conclusion to which Greek philoso- 
phy came was this — ^that, in view of the contradiction of 
the evidence of the senses, we cannot distinguish the 
true from the false ; and such is the imperfection of rea- 
son, that we cannot affirm the correctness of any philo- 
sophical deduction. 


It might be supposed tliat a revelation from God to 
man would come with such force and clearness as to 
settle all uncertainties and overwhelm all opposition. 
A Greek philosopher, less despairing than others, had 
ventured to aflSrm that the coexistence of two forms of 
faith, both claiming to be revealed by the omnipotent 
God, proves that neither of them is true. But let us 
remember that it is difficult for men to come to the 
same conclusion as regards even n^aterial and visible 
things, unless they stand at the same point of view. If 
discord and distrust were the condition of philosophy 
three hundred years before the birth of Christ, discord 
and distrust were the condition of religion three hun- 
dred years after his death. This is what Hilary, the 
Bishop of Poictiers, in his well-known passage written 
about the time of the Mcene Council, says : 

"It is a thing equally deplorable and dangerous that 
there are as many creeds as opinions among men, as 
many doctrines as inclinations, and as many sources of 
blasphemy as there are faults among us, because we 
make creeds arbitrarily and explain them as arbitrarily. 
Every year, nay, every moon, we make new creeds to 
describe invisible mysteries; we repent of what we 
have done ; we defend those who repent ; we anathe- 
matize those whom we defend ; we condemn either the 
doctrines of others in ourselves, or our own in that of 
others; and, reciprocally tesaring each other to pieces, 
we have been the cause of each other's ruin." 

These are not mere words ; but the import of this 
self-accusation can be realized fully only by such as are 
familiar with the ecclesiastical history of those times. 
As soon as the first fervor of Christianity as a sys- 
tem of benevolence had declined, dissensions appeared. 
Ecclesiastical historians assert that " as early as the sec- 


ond century began the contest between faitli and rea- 
son, religion and philosophy, piety and genius." To 
compose these dissensions, to obtain some authoritative 
expression, some criterion of truth, assemblies for con- 
sultation were resorted to, which eventually took the 
form of coxmcils. For a long time they had nothing 
more than an advisory authority; but, when, in the 
fourth century, Christianity had attained to imperial 
rule, their dictates became compulsory, being enforced 
by the civil power. By this the whole face of the 
Church was changed. CEcumenical councils — parlia- 
ments of Christianity — consisting of delegates from aD 
the churches in the world, were summoned by the au- 
thority of the emperor ; he presided either personally 
or nominally in them — composed all differences, and 
was, in fact, the Pope of Christendom. Mosheim, the 
historian, to whom I have more particularly referred 
above, speaking of these times, remarks that " there 
was nothing to exclude the ignorant from ecclesiastical 
preferment ; the savage and illiterate party, who looked 
on all kinds of learning, particularly philosophy, as per- 
nicious to piety, was increasing ; " and, accordingly, " the 
disputes carried on in the Council of Nicea offered a re- 
markable example of the greatest ignorance and utter 
confusion of ideas, particularly in the language and ex- 
planations of those who approved of the decisions of 
that coxmcil." Vast as its influence has been, "the 
ancient critics are neither agreed concerning the time 
nor place in which it was assembled, the number of those 
who sat in it, nor the bishop who presided. No authen- 
tic acts of its famous sentence have been committed to 
writing, or, at least, none have been transmitted to our 
times." The Church had now become what, in the 
language of modem politicians, would be called " a con- 


federated republic.'' The will of the council was de- 
termined by a majority vote, and, to secure that, all 
manner of intrigues and impositions were resorted to ; 
the influence of court females, bribery, and violence, 
were not spared. The Council of Mcea had scarcely ad- 
journed, when it was plain to all impartial men that, as 
a method of establishing a criterion of truth in religious 
matters, such councils were a total failure. The. mi- 
nority had no rights which the majority need respect. 
The protest of many good men, that a mere majority 
vote given by delegates, whose right to vote had never 
been examined and authorized, could not be received as 
ascertaining absolute truth, was passed over with con- 
tempt, and the consequence was, that council was as- 
sembled against council, and their jarring and contra- 
dictory decrees spread perpleidty and confusion through- 
out the Christian world. In the fourth century alone 
there were thirteen councils adverse to Arius, fifteen in 
liis favor, and seventeen for the semi-Arians— in, all, 
forty-five. Minorities were perpetually attempting to 
use the weapon which majorities had abused. 

The impartial ecclesiastical historian above quoted, 
moreover, says that "two monstrous and calamitous 

was an act of virtue to deceive and lie when, by that 
means, the interests of the Church might be promoted. 
2. That errors in religion, when maintained and ad- 
hered to after proper admonition, were punishable with 
civil penalties and corporal tortures." 

Not without astonishment can we look back at what, 
in those times, were popularly regarded as criteria of 
tmth. Doctrines were considered as established by the 
number of martyrs who had professed them, by. mira- 
cles, by the confession of demons, of lunatics, or of per- 


sons possessed of evil spirits : tlius, St. Ambrose, in his 
disputes with' the Arians, produced men possessed by 
devils, who, on the approach of the relics of certain 
martyrs, acknowledged, with loud cries, that the Nicean 
doctrine of the three persons of the Godhead was true. 
But the Arians charged him with Buboming these infer- 
nal witnesses with a weighty bribe. Already, ordeal 
tribunals were making their appearance. During the 
following six centuries they were held as a final resort 
for estabUshing guilt or innocence, under the forms of 
trial by cold water, by duel, by the fire, by the cross. 

What an utter ignorance of the nature of evidence 
and its laws have we here 1 An accused man sinks or 
swims when thrown into a pond of water ; he is burnt 
or escapes unharmed when he holds a piece of red-hot 
iron in his hand ; a champion whom he has hired is van- 
quished or vanquishes in single fight ; he can keep his 
arms outstretched like a cross, or fails to do so longer 
than his accuser, and his innocence or guilt of some im- 
puted crime is established 1 Are these criteria of truth? 

Is it surprising that all Europe was fiUed with im- 
posture miracles during those ages ? — ^^miracles that are 
a disgrace to the common-sense of man ! 

But the inevitable day came at length. Assertions 
and doctrines based upon such preposterous evidence 
were involved in the discredit that fell upon the evi- 
dence itself. As the thirteenth century is approached, 
we find unbelief in all directions setting in. First, it is 
plainly seen among the monastic orders, then it spreads 
rapidly among the common people. Books, such as 
" The Everlasting Gospel," appear among the former ; 
sects, such as the Oatharists, Waldenses, Petrobrussians, 
arise among the latter. They agreed in this, "that 
the public and established religion was a motley system 


of errors and superstitions, and that the dominion which 
the pope had usurped over Christians was unlawful and 
tyrannical ; that the claim put forth by Home, that the 
Bishop of Eome is the supreme lord of the universe, 
and that neither princes nor bishops, civil governors nor 
ecclesiastical rulers, have any lawful power in church or 
state but what they receive from him, is utterly with- 
out foxmdation, and a usurpation of the rights of 

To withstand this flood of impiety, the papal gov- 
ernment established two institutions : 1. The Inquisi- 
tion; 2. Auricular confession— the latter as a means of 
detection, the former as a tribunal for punishment. 

In general terms, the commission of the Inquisition 
was, to extirpate religious dissent by terrorism, and sur- 
round heresy with the most horrible associations ; this 
necessarily implied the power of determining what con- 
stitutes heresy. The criterion of truth was thus in pos- 
session of this tribunal, which was charged " to discover 
and bring to judgment heretics lurking in towns, houses, 
cellars, woods, caves, and fields." With such savage 
alacrity did it carry out its object of protecting the in- 
terests of religion, that between 1481 and 1808 it had 
punished three hxmdred and forty thousand persons, and 
of these nearly thirty-two thousand had been burnt! 
In its earlier days, when public opinion could find no 
means of protesting against its atrocities, " it often put 
to death, without appeal, on the very day that they 
were accused, nobles, clerks, monks, hermits, and lay. 
persons of every rank." In whatever direction thought- 
ful men looked, the air was full of fearful shadows. No 
one could indulge in freedom of thought without ex- 
pecting punishment. So dreadful were the proceedings 
of the Inquisition, that the exclamation of Pagliarici 


was the exclamation of thousands : " It is hardly possi- 
ble for a man to be a Christian, and die in his bed." 

The Inquisition destroyed the sectaries of Southern 
France in the thirteenth century. Its unscrupulous 
atrocities extirpated Protestantism in Italy and Spain. 
Nor did it confine itself to religious affairs ; it engaged 
in the suppression of political discontent. Nicolas 
Eymeric, who was inquisitor-general of the kingdom of 
Aragon for nearly fifty years, and who died in 1399, 
has left a frightful statement of its conduct and appall- 
ing cruelties in his " Directorium Inquisitorum." 

This disgrace of Christianity, and indeed of the 
human race, had different constitutions in different 
countries. The papal Inquisition continued the tyran- 
ny, and eventually superseded the old episcopal inqui- 
sitions. The authority of the bishops was unceremo- 
niously put aside by the officers of the pope. 

By the action of the fourth Lateran Council, a. d. 
1215, the power of the Inquisition was frightfully in- 
creased, the necessity of private confession to a priest — 
auricular confession—being at that timQ f ormaUy ,estab- 
lished. This, so far as domestic life was concerned, 
gave omn%)resence and omniscience to the Inquisition. 
Not a man was safe. In the hands of the priest, who, at 
the confessional, could extract or extort from them their 
most secret thoughts, his wife and his servants were 
turned into spies. Summoned before the dread tribu- 
nal, he was simply informed that he lay under strong 
suspicions of heresy. No accuser was named ; but the 
thumb-screw, the stretching-rope, the boot and wedge, 
or other enginery of torture, soon supplied that defect, 
and, innocent or guilty, he accused himself 1 

Notwithstanding aU this power, the Inquisition failed 
of its purpose. "When the heretic could no longer con- 


front it, he evaded it. . A dismal disbelief stealthily per- 
vaded all Europe — a denial of Providence, of the im- 
mortality of the soul, of human free-will, and that man 
can possibly resist the absolute necessity, the destiny 
which envelops him. Ideas such as these were cher- 
ished in silence by multitudes of persons driven to them 
by the tyrannical acts of ecclesiasticism. In spite of 
persecution, the Waldenses still survived to propagate 
their declaration that the Roman Church, since Con- 
stantine, had degenerated from its purity and sanctity ; 
to protest against the sale of indulgences, which they 
said had nearly abolished prayer, fasting, alms ; to aflSrm 
that it was utterly useless to pray for the souls of the 
dead, since they must already have gone either to heaven 
or helL Though it was generally believed that plulos- 
ophy or science was pernicious to the interests of Chris- 
tianity or true piety, the Mohammedan literature then 
prevailing in Spain was making converts among all 
classes of society. We see very plainly its influence in 
many of the sects that then arose ; thus, " the Brethren 
and Sisters of the Free Spirit" held that " the universe 
came by emanation from God, and would finally return 
to him by absorption ; that rational souls ar6 so many 
portions of the Supreme Deity ; and that the universe, 
considered as one great whole, is God." These are 
ideas that can only be entertained in an advanced intel- 
lectual condition. Of this sect it is said that many 
suffered burning with unclouded serenity, with trium- 
phant feelings of cheerfulness and joy. Their orthodox 
enemies accused them of gratifying their passions at 
midnight assemblages in darkened rooms, to which both 
Bexes in a coudition of nudity repaired. A similar accu- 
sation, as is well known, was brought against the primi- 
tive Christians by the fashionable society of Eome. 


The influences of the AveiToistic philosophy were 
apparent in many of these sects. That Mohammedan 
system, considered from a COiristian point of view, led 
to the heretical belief that the end of the precepts of 
Christianity is the union of the soul with the Supreme 
Being ; that God and Nature have the same relations 
to each other as the soul and the body ; that there is 
but one individual intelligence ; and that one soul per- 
forms all the spiritual and rational functions in all the 
human race. "When, subsequently, toward the time of 
the Eeformation, the ItalianAverroists were required by 
the Inquisition to give an account of themselves, they 
attempted to show that there is a wide distinction be- 
tween philosophical and religious truth; that things 
may be philosophically true, and yet theologically false — 
an exculpatory device condemned at length by the Lat- 
eran Council in the time of Leo X. 

But, in spite of auricular confession, and the Inqui- 
sition, these heretical tendencies survived. It has been 
truly said that, at the epoch of the Eeformation, there 
lay concealed, in many parts of Europe, persons who en- 
tertained the most virulent enmity against Christianity. 
In this pernicious class were many Aristotelians, such 
as Pomponatius ; many philosophers and wits, such aa 
Bodin, Eabelais, Montaigne ; many Italians, as Leo X., 
Bembo, Bruno. 

Miracle-evidence began to fall into discredit during 
the eleventh and tweKth centuries. The sarcasms of 
the Hispano-Moorish philosophers had forcibly drawn 
the attention of many of the more enlightened eccle- 
siastics to its illusory nature. The discovery of the 
Pandects of Justinian, at Amalfi, in 1130, doubtless 
exerted a very powerful influence in promoting the 
study of Eoman jurisprudence, and disseminating better 


notions as to the character of legal or philosophical evi- 
dence. Hallam has cast some doubt on the weU-known 
story of this discovery, but he admits that the celebrated 
copy in the Laurentian library, at Florence, is the only 
one containing the entire fifty books. Twenty years 
subsequently, the monk Gratian collected together the 
various papal edicts, the canons of councils, the dec- 
laratiojis of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, in 
a volume called " The Decretum," considered as the 
earliest authority in canon law. In the next century 
Gregory IX. published five books of Decretals, and 
Boniface VIII. subsequently added a sixth. To these 
followed the Clementine Constitutions, a seventh book 
of Decretals, and "A Book of Institutes," published to- 
gether, by Gregory XIII., in 1580, under the title of 
"Corpus Juris Canonici." The canon law had grad- 
ually gained enormous power through the control it had 
obtained over wills, the guardianship of orphans, mar- 
riages, and divorces. 

The rejection of miracle-evidence, and the substitu- 
tion of legal evidence in its stead, accelerated the ap- 
proach of the Reformation. No longer was it possible 
to admit the requirement which, in former days, An- 
selm, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in his treatise, 
" Cur Deus Homo," had enforced, that we must first 
believe without examination, and may afterward en- 
deavor to understand what we have thus believed. 
When Cajetan said to Luther, "Thou must believe 
that one single drop of Christ's blood is sufficient to 
redeem the whole human race, and the remaining quan- 
tity that was shed in the garden and on the cross was 
left as a legacy to the pope, to be a treasure from which 
indulgences were to be drawn," the soul of the sturdy 
Gterman monk revolted against such a monstrous asser- 


tion, nor would he have believed it though a thousand 
miracles had been worked in its support. This shameful 
practice of selling indulgences for the commission of sin 
originated among the bishops, who, when they had need 
of money for their private pleasures, obtained it in that 
way. Abbots and monks, to whom this gainful commerce 
was denied, raised funds by carrying about relics in sol- 
emn procession, and charging a fee for touching them. 
The popes, in their pecuniary straits, perceiving how 
lucrative the practice might become, deprived the bish- 
ops of the right of making such sales, and appropriated 
it to themselves, establishing agencies, chiefly among the 
mendicant orders, for the traffic. Among these orders 
there was a sharp competition, each boasting of the su- 
perior value of its indulgences through its greater in- 
fluence at the court of heaven, its familiar connection 
with the Virgm Mary and the saints in glory. Even 
against Luther himself, who had been an Augustinian 
monk, a calunmy was circulated that he was first alien- 
ated from the Church by a traffic of this kind having 
been conferred on the Dominicans, instead of on his own 
order, at the time when Leo X. was raising funds by 
this means for building St. Peter's, at Rome, a. d. 1517 ; 
and there is reason to think that Leo himself, in the 
earlier stages of the Reformation, attached weight to 
that allegation. 

Lidulgences were thus the immediate inciting cause 
of the Reformation, but very soon there came into light 
the real principle that was animating the controversy. 
It lay in the question. Does the Bible owe its authen- 
ticity to the Church? or does the Church owe her au- 
thenticity to the Bible? Where is the criterion of 

It is not necessary for me here to relate the well- 


known particulars of that controversy, the desolating 
wars and scenes of blood to which it gave rise : how 
Luther posted on the door of the cathedral of Wittem- 
berg ninety-five theses, and was summoned to Rome to 
answer for his offense ; how he appealed from the pope, 
ill-informed at the time, to the pope when he should 
have been better instructed ; how he was condemned as 
a heretic, and thereupon appealed to a general coxmcil ; 
how, through the disputes about purgatory, transubstan- 
tiation, auricular confession, absolution, the fundamental 
idea which lay at the bottom of the whole movement 
came into relief, the right of individual judgment ; how 
Luther was now excommunicated, a. d. 1520, and in de- 
fiance Burnt the bull of excommunication and the vol- 
umes of the canon law, which he denounced as aiming 
at the subversion of all civil government, and the exalta- 
tion of the papacy; how by this skillful manoeuvre he 
brought over many of the German princes to his views ; 
how, summoned before the Imperial Diet at Worms, he 
refused to retract, and, while he was hidden in the castle 
of Wartburg, his doctrines were spreading, and a ref- 
ormation under Zwingli broke out in Switzerland ; how 
the principle of sectarian decomposition embedded in 
the movement gave rise to rivalries and dissensions be- 
tween the Germans and the Swiss, and even divided 
the latter among themselves under the leadership of 
Zwingli and of Calvin ; how the Conference of Marburg, 
the Diet of Spires, and that at Augsburg, failed to com- 
pose the troubles, and eventually the German Reforma- 
tion assumed a political organization at Smalcalde. The 
quarrels between the Lutherans and the Calvinists gave 
hopes to Rome that she might recover her losses. 

Leo was not slow to discern that the Lutheran Ref- 
ormation was something more serious than a squabble 


among some monks about the profits of indulgence-sales, 
and the papacy set itself seriously at work to overcome 
the revolters. It instigated the frightful wars that for 
so many years desolated Europe, and left animosities 
which neither the Treaty of Westphalia, nor the Council 
of Trent after eighteen years of debate, could compose. 
No one can read without a shudder the attempts that 
were made to extend the Inquisition in foreign coun 
tries. All Europe, Catholic and Protestant, was horror- 
stricken at the Huguenot massacre of St. Bartholomew's 
Eve (a. d. 1572). For perfidy and atrocity it has no 
equal in the annals of the world. 

The desperate attempt in which the papacy had been 
engaged to put down its opponents by iixstigating civil 
wars, massacres, and assassinations, proved to be alto- 
gether abortive. Nor had the Council of Trent any 
better result. Ostensibly summoned to correct, illus- 
trate, and fix with perspicacity the doctrine of the 
Church, to restore the vigor of its discipline, and to re- 
form the lives of its ministers, it was so manipulated 
that a large majority of its members were Italians, and 
under the influence of the pope. Hence the Protestants 
could not possibly accept its decisions. 

The issue of the Keformation was the acceptance by 
all the Protestant Churches of the dogma that the Bible 
is a sufficient guide for every Christian man. Tradition 
was rejected, and the right of private interpretation as- 
sured. It was thought that the criterion of truth had 
at length been obtained. 

The authority thus imputed to the Scriptures was 
not restricted to matters of a purely religious or moral 
kind ; it extended over philosophical facts and to the 
interpretation of Nature. Many went as far as in the 
old times Epiphanius had done: he believed that the 

LUTHER. 215 

Bible contained a complete system of mineralogy I The 
Reformers would tolerate no science that was not in 
accordance with Genesis. Among them there were 
many who maintained that religion and piety conld 
never flourish unless ^separated from learning and sci- 
ence. The fatal maidm that the Bible contained the 
sum and substance of all knowledge, useful or pos- 
sible to man — a maxim employed with such pernicious 
effect of old by Tertullian and by St. Augustine, and 
which had so often been enforced by papal authority — 
was stin strictly insisted upon. The leaders of the Eef- 
ormation, Luther and Melanchthon, were determined 
to banish philosophy from the Church. Luther declared 
that the study of Aristotle is wholly useless ; his vilifica- 
tion of that Greek philosopher knew no bounds. He 
is, says Luther, "truly a devil, a horrid calumniator, 
a wicked sycophant, a prince of darkness, a real Apol- 
lyon, a beast, a most horrid impostor on mankind, one 
in whom there is scarcely any philosophy, a public and 
professed liar, a goat, a complete epicure, this twice 
execrable Aristotle." The schoolmen were, so Luther 
said, " locusts, caterpillars, frogs, lice." , He entertained 
an abhorrence for them. These opinions, though not 
so emphatically expressed, were entertained by Calvin. 
So far as science is concerned, nothing is owed to the 
Eeformation. The Procrustean bed of the Pentateuch . 
was still before her. 

Li the annals of Christianity the most ill-omened 
day is that in which she separated. herseK from science. 
She compelled Origen, at that time (a. d. 231) its chief 
representative and supporter in the Church, to aban- 
don his charge in Alexandria, and retire to Csesarea. 
Li vain through many subsequent centuries did her 
leading men spend themselves in — as the phrase then 

216 CALVIN. 

went — "drawing forth the internal juice ^nd marrow 
of the Scriptures for the explaining of things." Uni- 
versal history from the third to the sixteenth century 
shows with what result. The dark ages owe their 
darkness to this fatal policy. Here and there, it is 
true, there were great men, such as Frederick II. and 
Alphonso X., who, standing at a very elevated and gen- 
eral point of view, had detected the value of learning to 
civilization, and, in the midst of the dreary prospect that 
ecclesiasticism had created around them, had recognized 
that science alone can improve the social condition of 

The infliction of the death-punishment for difference 
of opinion was still resorted to. When Calvin caused 
Servetus to be burnt at Geneva, it was obvious to every 
one that the spirit of persecution was unimpaired. The 
offense of that philosopher lay in his belief. This was, 
chat the genuine doctrines of Christianity had been lost 
even before the time of the Council of N icea ; that the 
Holy Ghost animates the whole system of Nature, like 
a soul of the world, and that, with the Christ, it wiU 
be absorbed, at the end of aU things, into the substance 
of the Deity, from which they had emanated. For this 
he was roasted to death over a slow fire. Was there 
any distinction between fliis Protestant auto-da-fe and 
the Catholic one of Vanini, who was burnt at Tou- 
louse, by the Inquisition, in 1629, for his " Dialogues 
concerning Nature ? " 

The invention of printing, the dissemination of 
books, had introduced a class of dangers which the per- 
secution of the Inquisition could not reach. In 1559, 
Pope Paul IV. instituted the Congregation of the In- 
dex Expurgatorius. " Its duty is to examine books and 
manuscripts intended for publication, and to decide 


whether the people may be permitted to read them ; to 
correct those books of which the errors are not nu- 
merous, and which contain certain useful and salutary- 
truths, so as to bring them into harmony with the doc- 
trines of the Church ; to condemn those of which the 
principles are heretical and pernicious; and to grant 
the peculiar privilege of perusing heretical books to cer- 
tain persons. This congregation, which is sometimes 
held in presence of the pope, but generally in the pal- 
ace of the Cardinal-president, has a more extensive 
jurisdiction than that of the Inquisition, as it not only 
takes cognizance of those books that contain doctrines 
contrary to the Koman Catholic faith, but of those that 
concern the duties of morality, the discipline of the 
Churdi, the interests of society. Its name is derived 
from the alphabetical tables or indexes of heretical 
books and authors composed by its appointment." 

The Index Expurgatorius of prohibited books at 
first indicated those works which it was unlawful to 
read ; but, on this being found insuflScient, whatever 
was not permitted was prohibited — an audacious at- 
tempt to prevent aU knowledge, except such as suited 
the purposes of the Church, from reaching the people. 

The two rival divisions of the Christian Church — 
Protestant and Catholic — ^were thus in accord on one 
point : to tolerate no science except such as they con- 
sidered to be agreeable to the Scriptures. The Catho- 
lic, being in possession of centralized power, could make 
its decisions respected wherever its sway was acknowl- 
edged, and enforce the monitions of the Index Expurga- 
torius; the Protestant, whose influence was diflfufled 
among many foci in different nations, could not act in 
such a direct and resolute manner. Its mode of pro- 
cedure was, by raising a theological odium against an 


offender, to put him under a social ban — a course per- 
haps not less effectual than the other. 

As we have seen in former chapters, an antagonism 
between religion and science had existed from the earli- 
est days of Christianity. On every occasion permitting 
its display it may be detected through successive centu- 
ries. We witness it in the downfall of the Alexandrian 
Museum, in the cases of Erigena and Wiclif, in the con- 
temptuous rejection by the heretics of the thirteenth 
century of the Scriptural account of the Creation ; but 
it was not until the epoch of Copernicus, Kepler, and 
Galileo, that the efforts of Science to burst from the 
thraldom in which she was fettered became uncontrol- 
lable. In all countries the political power of the Church 
had greatly declined ; her leading men perceived that 
the cloudy foundation on which she had stood was dis- 
solving away. Repressive measures against her antago- 
nists, in old times resorted to with effect, could be no 
longer advantageously employed. To her interests the 
burning of a pldlosopher here and there did more harm 
than good. In her great conflict with astronomy, a 
conflict in which Galileo stands as the central figure, 
she received an utter overthrow ; and, as we have seen, 
when the immortal work of Newton was printed, she 
could offer no resistance, though Leibnitz affirmed, in 
the face of Europe, that " Newton had robbed the Deity 
of some of his most excellent attributes, and had sapped 
the foundation of natural religion." 

From the time of Newton to our own time, the di- 
vergence of science from the dogmas of the Church has 
continually increased. The Church declared that the 
earth is the central and most important body in the 
universe ; that the sun and moon and stars are tribu- 
tary to it. On these points she was worsted by astron- 


omy. She affirmed that a universal deluge had covered 
the earth ; that the only surviving animals were such as 
had been saved in an ark. In this her error was estab- 
lished by geology. She taught that there was a first 
man, who, some six or eight thousand years ago, was 
suddenly created or called into existence in a condition 
of physical and moral perfection, and from that condi- 
tion he fell. But anthropology has shown that human 
beings existed far back in geological time, and in a sav- 
age state but little better than that of the brute. 

Many good and well-meaning men have attempted 
to reconcile the statements of Genesis with the discov- 
eries of science, but it is in vain. The divergence has 
increased so much, that it has become an absolute *oppo 
sition. One of the antagonists must give way. 

May we not, then, be permitted to examine the au- 
thenticity of this book, which, since the second century, 
has been put forth as the criterion of scientific truth ? 
To maintain itself in a position so exalted, it must chal- 
lenge human criticism. 

In the early Christian ages, many of the most emi- 
nent Fathers of the Church had serious doubts respect- 
ing the authorship of the entire Pentateuch. I have not 
space, in the limited compass of these pages, to present 
in detail the facts and arguments that were then and 
have since been adduced. The literature of the subject 
is now very extensive. I may, however, refer the read- 
er to the work of the pious and learned Dean Pri- 
deaux, on " The Old and New Testament connected," a 
work which is one of the literary ornaments of the last 
century. He will also find the subject more recently 
and exhaustively discussed by Bishop Colenso. The 
following paragraphs will convey a sufficiently distinct 
impression of the present state of the controversy : 


The Pentateucli is aflBrmed to have been written by 
Moses, tinder the influence of divine inspiration. Con- 
sidered thns, as a record vouchsafed and dictated by the 
Ahnighty, it commands not only scientific but universal 

But here, in the first place, it may be demanded, 
Who or what is it that has put forth this great claim in 
its behalf? 

Not the work itself. It nowhere claims the author- 
ship of one man, or makes the impious declaration that 
it is the writing of Almighty God. 

Not until after the second century was there any 
such extravagant demand on human credulity. It ori- 
ginated, not among the higher ranks of Christian phi- 
losophers, but among the more fervid Fathers of the 
Church, whose own writings prove them to have been 
unlearned and uncritical persons. 

Every age, froin the second century to our times, has 
offered men of great ability, both Christian and Jewish, 
who have altogether repudiated these claims. Their de- 
cision has been founded upon the intrinsic evidence of 
the books themselves. These furnish plain indications 
of at least two distinct authors, who have been respec- 
tively termed Elohistic and Jehovistic. Hupfeld main- 
tains that the Jehovistic narrative bears marks of hav- 
ing been a second original record, wholly independent 
of the Elohistic. The two sources from which the nar- 
ratives have been derived are, in many respects, contra- 
dictory of each other. Moreover, it is asserted that 
tlie books of the Pentateuch are never ascribed to Mosea 
in the inscriptions of Hebrew manuscripts, or in printed 
copies of the Hebrew Bible, nor are they styled " Books 
of Moses " in the Septuagint or Yulgate, but .only in 
modem translations. 


It is clear that they cannot be imputed to the sole 
authorship of Moses, since they record his death. It is 
clear that they were not written until many hundred 
years after that event, since they contain references to 
facts which did not occur until after the establishment 
of the government of kings among the Jews. 

No man may dare to impute them to the inspiration 
of Almighty God — their inconsistencies, incongruities, 
contradictions, and impossibilities, as exposed by many 
learned and pious modems, both German and English, 
are so great. It is the decision of these critics that 
Genesis is a narrative based upon legends ; that Exodus 
is not historically true ; that the whole Pentateuch is 
unhistoric and non-Mosaic ; it contains the most extraor- 
dinary contradictions and impossibilities, sufficient to 
involve the credibility of the whole — ^imperfections so 
many and so conspicuous that they would destroy the 
authenticity of any modern historical work. 

Hengstenberg, in his " Dissertations on the Genuine- 
ness of the Pentateuch," says : " It is the unavoidable 
fate of a spurious historical work of any length to be 
involved in contradictions. This must be the case to a 
very great extent with the Pentateuch, if it be not gen- 
uine. If the Pentateuch is spurious, its histories and 
laws have been fabricated in successive portions, and 
were conamitted to writing in the course of many cen- 
turies by difEerent individuals. From such a mode of 
origination, a mass of contrakiictions is inseparable, and 
the improving hand of a later editor could never be 
cai)able of entirely obliterating them." 

To the above conclusions I may add that we are 
expressly told by Ezra (Esdras ii. 14) that he him- 
self, aided by five other persons, wrote these books in 
the space of forty days. He says that at the time 


of tlie Babylonian captivity tlie ancient sacred writings 
of the Jews were burnt, and gives a particular detail of 
the circumstances under which these were composed 
He sets forth that he undertook to write all that had 
been done in the world since the beginning. It may 
be said that the books of Esdras are apocryphal, but 
in return it may be demanded, Has that conclusion been 
reached on evidence that will withstand modem criti- 
cism? In the early ages of Christianity, when the 
story of the fall of man was not considered as essential 
to the Christian system, and the doctrine of the atone- 
ment had not attained that precision which Anselm 
eventually gave it, it was very generally admitted by 
the Fathers of the Church that Ezra probably did so 
compose the Pentateuch. Thus St. Jerome says, " Sive 
Mosem dicere volueris auctorem Pentateuchi, sive Es- 
dram ejusdem instauratorem operis, non recuso." Cle- 
mens Alexandrinus says that when these books had 
been destroyed in the captivity of Nebuchadnezzar, 
Esdras, having become inspired prophetically, repro- 
duced them. Irenseus says the same. 

The incidents contained in Genesis, from the first 
to the tenth chapters inclusive (chapters which, in their 
bearing upon science, are of more importance than other 
portions of the Pentateuch), have been obviously com- 
piled from short, fragmentary legends of various author- 
ship. To the critical eye they all, however, present 
peculiarities which demonstrate that they were written 
on the banks of the Euphrates, and not in the Desert of 
Arabia. They contain many Chaldaisms. An Egyptian 
would not speak of the Mediterranean Sea as being west 
of him, an Assyrian would. Their scenery and machinery, 
if such expressions may with propriety be used, are al- 
together Assyrian, not Egyptian. They were such rec- 


ords as one might expect to meet with in the cnneiform 
impressions of the tile libraries of the Mesopotamian 
kings. It is aflSrmed that one such legend, that of the 
Deluge, has already been exhumed, and it is not beyond 
the bounds of probability that the remainder may in 
like manner be obtained. 

From such Assyrian sources, the legends of the crea- 
tion of the earth and heaven, the garden of Eden, the 
making of man from clay, and of woman from one of 
his ribs, the temptation by the serpent, the naming of 
animals, the cherubim and flaming sword, the Deluge 
and the ark, the drying up of the waters by the wind, 
the bxdlding of the Tower of Babel, and the confusion 
of tongues, were obtained by Ezra. He commences ab- 
ruptly the proper history of the Jews in the eleventh 
chapter. At that point his universal history ceases ; he 
occupies himself with the story of one family, the de- 
scendants of Shem. 

It is of this restriction that the Duke of Argyll, in 
his book on " Primeval Man," very graphically says : 
"In the genealogy of the family of Shem we have a list 
of names which are names, and nothing more to us. It 
is a genealogy which neither does, nor pretends to do, 
more than to trace the order of succession 'among a few 
families only, out of the millions then already existing 
in the world, Nothing but this order of succession is 
given, nor is it at all certain that this order is consecutive 
or complete. Nothing is told us of all that lay behind 
that curtain of thick darkness, in front of which these 
names are made to pass ; and yet there are, as it were, 
momentary liftings, through which we have glimpses 
of great movements which were going on, and had been 
long going on beyond. No shapes are distinctly seen. 
Even the direction of those movements can only be 


guessed. But voices are heard whicli are as the voices 
of many waters." I agree in tlie opinion of Hupfeld, 
that " the discovery that the Pentateuch is put together 
out of various sources, or original documents, is beyond 
all doubt not only one of the most important and most 
pregnant with consequences for the interpretation of 
the historical books of the Old Testament, or rather for 
the whole of theology and history, but it is also one of 
the most certain discoveries which have been made in 
the domain of criticism and the history of literature. 
Whatever the anticritical parly may bring forward to 
the contrary, it will maintain itself, and not retrograde 
again through any thing, so long as there exists such a 
thing as criticism ; and it will not be easy for a reader 
upon the stage of culture on which we stand in the 
present day, if he goes to the examination unpreju- 
diced, and with an uncorrupted power of appreciating 
the truth, to be able to ward off its influence." 

What then ? shall we give up these books ? Does not 
the admission that the narrative of the fall in Eden is 
legendary carry with it the surrender of that most sol- 
emn and sacred of Christian doctrines, the atonement i 

Let us reflect on this I Christianity, in its earliest 
days, when it was converting and conquering the world, 
knew little or nothing about that doctrine. We have 
seen that, in his " Apology," Tertullian did not think 
it worth his while to mention it. It originated among 
the Gnostic heretics. It was not admitted by the Alex- 
andrian theological school. It was never prominently 
advanced by the Fathers. It was not brought into its 
present commanding position until the time of Ansehn 
Philo Judgeus speaks of the story of the fall as symboli 
cal ; Origen regarded it as an allegory. Perhaps some 
of the Protestant churches may, with reason, be accused 


of inconsistency, since in part they consider it as myth- 
ical, in part real. But, if, with them, we admit that the 
serpent is symbolical of Satan, does not that cast an aii* 
of allegory over the whole narrative ? 

It is to be regretted that the Christian Church has 
burdened itself with the defense of these books, and 
voluntarily made itself answerable for their manifest 
contradictions and errors. Their vindication, if it were 
possible, should have been resigned to the Jews, among 
whom they originated, and by whom they have been 
transmitted to us. Still more, it is to be deeply regret- 
ted that the Pentateuch, a production so imperfect as 
to be unable to stand the touch of modem criticism, 
should be put forth as the arbiter of science. Let it be 
remembered that the exposure of the true character of 
these books has been made, not by captious enemies, 
but by pious and learned churchmen, some of them of 
the highest dignity. 

While thus the Protestant churches have insisted on 
the acknowledgment of the Scriptures as the criterion 
of truth, the Catholic has, in our own times, declared 
the infallibility of the pope. It may be said that this 
infallibility applies only to moral or religious things ; 
but where shall the line of separation be drawn ? Omnis- 
cience cannot be limited to a restricted group of ques- 
tions ; in its very nature it implies the knowledge of all, 
and infallibility means onmiscience. 

Doubtless, if the fundamental principles of Italian 
Christianity be admitted, their logical issue is an infal- 
lible pope. There is no need to dwell on the unphilo- 
6ophi(^ nature of this conception; it is destroyed by 
an examination of the political history of the papacy, 
and the biography of the popes. The former eidiibits 
all the errors and mistakes to which institutions of a 


confessedly human character have been found liable ; the 
latter is only too frequently a story of sin and shame. 

It was not possible that the authoritative promulga- 
tion of the dogma of papal infallibility should meet 
among enlightened Catholics universal acceptance. Se- 
rious and wide-spread dissent has been produced. A 
doctrine so revolting to common-sense could not find 
any other result. There are many who affirm that, if 
infallibility exists anywhere, it is in oecumenical coun- 
cils, and yet such councils have not always agreed with 
each other. There are also many who remember that 
councils have deposed popes, and have passed judgment 
on their clamors and contentions. Not without reason 
do Protestants demand, What proof can be given that 
infallibility exists in the Church at all ? what proof is 
there that the Church has ever been fairly or justly 
represented in any council ? and why should the truth 
be ascertained by the vote of a majority rather than by 
that of a minority ? How often it has happened that 
one man, standing at the right point of view, has de- 
scried the truth, and, after having been denounced and 
persecuted by all others, they have eventually been con- 
strained to adopt his declarations I Of many great dis- 
coveries, has not this been the history ? 

It is not for Science to compose theae contesting 
claims ; it is not for her to determine whether the crite- 
rion of truth for the religious man shall be found in 
the Bible, or in the oecumenical council, or in the pope. 
She only asks the right, which she so willingly accords 
to others, of adopting a criterion of her own. If she 
regards unhistorical legends with disdain ; if she consid- 
ers the vote of a majority in the ascertainment of truth 
with supreme indifference; if she leaves the claim of 
infallibility in any human being to be vindicated by the 


Etem logic of coining events — ^tlie cold impassiveness 
which in these matters she maintains is what she dis- 
plays toward her own doctrines. Without hesitation 
she would give up the theories of gravitation or undu- 
lations, if she found that they were irreconcilable with 
facts. For her the volume of inspiration is the book 
of Nature, of which the open scroll is ever spread forth 
before the eyes of every man. Confronting all, it needs 
no societies for its dissemination. Infinite in extent, 
eternal in duration, human ambition and human fanati- 
cism have never been able to tamper vrith it. On the 
earth it is illustrated by all that is magnificent' and 
beautiful, on the heavens its letters are suns and worlds. 




ITiere are (too conceptions of the government of the world: 1. By Provu 
dence; 2. By Law. — The former maintained by ih£ priesthood. — Sketch 
of the introduction cf the latter. 

Kepler discovers the laws that preside over the solar system. — His works are 
denounced by papal authority.— The foundaHons of mechanical phi- 
losophy are laid by Da Vinci. — Galileo discovers the fundamental laws 
of Dynamics. — Newton applies them to the movements of the celestial 
bodies, and shows that the solar system is governed by mathematical 
necessity. — Herschel extends that conclusion to the universe. — The 
nebular hypothesis. — Theological exceptions to it. 

Bh}idences of the control of law in tlie construction of the earth, and in the , 
development of the animal and plant series. — They arose by Enolu- 
iion, not by Creaiion. 

The reign of law is exhibited by the historic career of human societies, and 
in the case of individual man. 

Partial adoption of this view by some of the Reformed Churches. 

Two interpretations may be given of the mode of 
government of the world. It may be by incessant di- 
vine interventions, or by the operation of unvarying law. 

To the adoption of the former a priesthood will al- 
ways incline, since it must desire to be considered ae 
standing between the prayer of the votary and the provi- 
dential act. Its importance is magnified by the power 
it claims of determining what that act shall be. In the 
pre-Christian (Roman) religion, the grand oflSce of the 


priesthood was the discovery of f uttire events by oracles, 
omens, or an inspection of the entrails of animals, and 
by the offering of sacrifices to propitiate the gods. In 
the later, the Christian times, a higher power was 
claimed; the clergy asserting that, by their intercesr 
sions, ihey could regulate the course of affairs, avert 
dangers, secure benefits, work miracles, and even change 
the order of Nature. 

Not without reason, therefore, did they look upon 
the doctrine of government by unvarying law with dis- 
favor. It seemed to depreciate their dignity, to lessen 
their importance. To them there was something shock- 
ing in a God who cannot be swayed by human entreaty, 
a cold, passionless divinity — something frightful in fa- 
talism, destiny. 

But the orderly movement of the heavens could not 
fail in aU ages to make a deep impression on thought- 
ful observers — ^the rising and setting of the sun; the 
increasing or diminishing light of the day ; the waxing 
and waning of the moon ; the return of the seasons in 
their proper courses ; the measured march of the wander- 
ing planets in the sky — ^what are all these, and a thou- 
sand such, but manifestations of an orderly and un- 
changing procession of events ? The faith of early ob- 
servers in this interpretation may perhaps have been 
shaken by the occurrence of such a phenomenon as an 
eclipse, a sudden and mysterious breach of the ordinary 
course of natural events; but it would be resumed in 
tenfold strength as soon as the discovery was made that 
eclipses themselves recur, and may be predicted. 

Astronomical predictions of all kinds depend upon 
the admission of this fact — ^that there never has been 
and never wiU be any intervention in the operation of 
natural laws. The scientific philosopher affirms that 

230 KEPLER. 

the condition of the world at any given moment is the 
direct result of its condition in the preceding moment, 
and the direct cause of its condition in the subsequent 
moment. Law and chance are only different names for 
mechanical necessity. 

About fifty years after the death of Copernicus, 
John Kepler, a native of Wiirtemberg, who had adopted 
the heliocentric theory, and who was deeply impressed 
with the belief that relationships exist in the revolutions 
of the planetary bodies round the sun, and that these if 
correctly examined would reveal the laws under which 
those movements take place, devoted himself to the 
study of the distances, times, and velocities of the plan- 
ets, and the form of their orbits. His method was, to 
submit the observations to which he had access, such 
as those of Tycho Brahe, to computations based first on 
one and then on another hypothesis, rejecting the hy- 
pothesis if he found that the calculations did not accord 
with the observations. The incredible labor he had 
undergone (he says, "I considered, and I computed, 
until I almost went mad") was at length rewarded, and 
in 1609 he published his book, " On the Motions of the 
Planet Mars." In this he had attempted to reconcile 
the movements of that planet to the hypothesis of eccen- 
trics and epicycles, but eventually discovered that the 
orbit of a planet is not a circle but an ellipse, the sun 
being in one of the foci, and that the areas swept over 
by a line drawn from the planet to the sun are propor- 
tional to the times. These constitute what are now 
known as the first and second laws of Kepler. Eight 
years subsequently, he was rewarded by the discovery 
of a third law, defining the relation between the mean 
distances of the planets from the sun and the times of 
their revolutions ; " the squares of the periodic times are 

KEPLER. 231 

proportional to the cubes of the distances." In'^An 
Epitome of the Copemican System," published in 1618, 
he announced this law, and showed that it holds good 
for the satellites of Jupiter as regards their primary. 
Hence it was inferred that the laws which preside over 
the grand movements of the solar system preside also 
over the less movements of its constituent parts. 

The conception of law which is unmistakably con- 
veyed by Kepler's discoveries, and the evidence they 
gave in support of the heliocentric as against the geo- 
centric theory, could not fail to incur the reprehension 
of the Eoman authorities. The congregation of the 
Index, therefore, when they denounced the Copemican 
system as utterly conti^ary to the Holy Scriptures, pro- 
hibited Kepler's " Epitome " of that system. It was on 
this occasion that Kepler submitted his celebrated re- 
monstrance : " Eighty years have elapsed during which 
the doctrines of Copernicus regarding the movement of 
the earth and the immobility of the sun have been pro- 
mulgated without hinderance, because it was deemed 
allowable to dispute concerning natural things, and to 
elucidate the works of God, and now that new testimony 
is discovered in proof of the truth of those doctrines — 
testimony which was not known to the spiritual judges 
— ^ye would prohibit the promulgation of the true sys- 
tem of the structure of the universe." 

None of Kepler's contemporaries believed the law 
of the areas, nor was it accepted until the publication 
of the " Principia " of Newton. In fact, no one in those 
times imderstood the philosophical meaning of Kepler's 
laws. He himself did not foresee what they must in- 
evitably lead to. His mistakes showed how far he was 
from perceiving their result. Thus he thought that 
each planet is the seat of an intelligent principle, and 

232 KEPLER. 

tliat there is a relation between the magnitudes of the 
orbits of the five principal planets and the five regular 
solids of geometry. At first he inclined to believe that 
the orbit of Mars is oval, nor was it until after a wea- 
risome study that he detected the grand truth, its ellip- 
tical form. An idea of the incorruptibility of the celes- 
tial objects had led to the adoption of the Aristotelian 
doctrine of the perfection of circular motions, and to 
the belief that there were none but circular motions in 
the heavens. He bitterly complains of this as having 
been a fatal " thief of his time." His philosophical 
daring is illustrated in his breaking through this time- 
honored tradition. 

In some most important particulars Kepler antici- 
pated Newton. He was the first to give clear ideas re- 
specting gravity. He says every particle of matter will 
rest until it is disturbed by some other particle — ^that 
the earth attracts a stone more than the stone attracts 
the earth, and that bodies move to each other in propor- 
tion to their masses ; that the earth would ascend to the 
moon one-fifty-fourth of the distance, and the moon 
would move toward the earth the other fifty-three. He 
affirms that the moon's attraction causes the tides, and 
that the planets must impress irregularities on the 
moon's motions. 

The progress of astronomy is obviously divisible 
into three periods : 

1. The period of observation of the apparent mo- 
tions of the heavenly bodies. 

2. The period of discovery of their real motions, and 
particularly of the laws of the planetary revolutions : 
this was signally illustrated by Copernicus and Kepler. 

3. The period of the ascertainment of the causes of 
those laws. It was the epoch of Newton. 

DA VINCI. 233 

The passage of the second into the third period de- 
pended on the development of the Dynamical branch 
of mechanics, which had been in a stagnant condition 
from the time of Archimedes or the Alexandrian 

In Christian Europe there had not been a cultiva- 
tor of mechanical philosophy nntil Leonardo da Vinci, 
who was bom a. d. 1452. To him, and not to Lord 
Bacon, must be attributed the renaissance of science. 
Bacon was not only ignorant of mathematics, but de- 
preciated its application to physical inquiries. He 
contemptuously rejected the Copernican system, alleg- 
ing absurd objections to it. "While Galileo was on the 
brink of his great telescopic discoveries. Bacon was pub- 
lishing doubts as to the utility of instruments in scien- 
tific investigations. To ascribe tSie inductive method to 
him is to ignore history. His fanciful philosophical 
suggestions have never been of the slightest practical 
use. No one has ever thought of employing them. 
Except among English readers, his name is almost un- 

To Da Vinci I shall have occasion to allude more 
particularly on a subsequent page. Of his works still 
remaining in manuscript, two volumes are at Milan, and 
one in Paris, carried there by Napoleon. After an in- 
terval of about seventy years. Da Vinci was followed by 
the Dutch engineer, Stevinus, whose work on the prin- 
ciples of equilibrium was published in 1586. Six years 
afterward appeared Galileo's treatise on mechanics. 

To this great Italian is due the establishment of the 
three fundamental laws of dynamics, known as the Laws 
of Motion. 

The consequences of the establishment of these laws 
were very important. 


It had been supposed that contimious movementSj 
such, for instance, as those of the celestial bodies, could 
only be maintained by a perpetual consumption and per- 
petual application of force, but the first of Galileo's laws 
declared that every body will persevere in its state of 
rest, or of uniform motion in a right line, until it is 
compelled to change that state by disturbing forces. A 
clear perception of this fundamental principle is essen- 
tial to a comprehension of the elementary facts of 
physical astronomy. Since all the motions that we wit- 
ness taking place on the surface of the earth soon come 
to an end, we are led to infer that rest is the natural 
condition of things. "We have made, then, a very greal? 
advance when we have become satisfied that a body is 
equally indifferent to rest as to motion, and that it 
equally perseveres in either state until disturbing forces 
are applied. Such disturbing forces in the case of com- 
mon movements are friction and the resistance of the 
air. When no such resistances exist, movement must be 
perpetual, as is the case with the heavenly bodies, which 
are moving in a void. 

Forces, no matter what their difference of magni- 
tude may be, will exert their full influence conjointly, 
each as though the other did not exist. Thus, when a 
ball is suffered to drop from the mouth of a cannon, it 
falls to the ground in a certain interval of time through 
the influence of gravity upon it. If, then, it be fired 
from the cannon, though now it may be projected some 
thousands of feet in a second, the effect of gravity upon 
it will be precisely the same as before. In the inter- 
mingling of forces there is no deterioration ; each pro- 
duces its own specific effect. 

In the latter half of the seventeenth century, through 
the works of Borelli, Hooke, and Huyghens, it had be- 

NEWTON. 235 

i?ome plain tliat circular motions could be accounted for 
by the laws of Galileo. Borelli, treating of the mo- 
tions of Jupiter's satellites, shows how a circular move- 
ment may. arise under the influence of a central force. 
Hooke exhibited the inflection of a direct motion into a 
circular by a supervening central attraction. 

The year 1687 presents, not only an epoch in Euro- 
pean science, but also in the intellectual development of 
man. It is marked by the publicati6n of the "Prin- 
cipia" of Newton, an incomparable, an immortal 

On the principle that all bodies attract each other 
with forces directly as their masses, and inversely as the 
squares of their distances, Newton showed that aU the 
movements of the celestial bodies may be accounted for, 
and that Kepler's laws might aU have been predicted — 
the elliptic motions — ^the described areas — ^the relation 
of the times and distances. As we have seen, Newton's 
contemporaries had perceived how circular motions 
could be explained ; that was a special case, but Newton 
furnished the solution of the general problem, contain- 
ing all special cases of motion in circles, ellipses^ para- 
bolas, hyperbolas — ^that is, in all the conic sections. 

The Alexandrian mathematicians had shown that the 
direction of movement of falling bodies is toward the 
centre of the earth. Newton proved that this must 
necessarily be the case, the general effect of the attrac- 
tion of all the particles of a sphere being the same as 
if they were all concentrated in its centre. 

To this central force, thus determining the fall of 
bodies, the designation of gravity was given. Up to 
this time, no one, except Kepler, had considered how far 
its influence reached. It seemed to Newton possible 
that it might extend as far as the moon, and be the 


force that deflects her from a rectilinear path, and 
makes her revolve in her orbit round the earth. It 
was easy to compute, on the principle of the law of 
inverse squares, whether the earth's attraction was suffi- 
cient to produce the observed effect. Employing the 
measures of the size of the earth accessible at the time, 
Newton found that the moon's deflection was only thir- 
teen feet in a minute ; whereas, if his hypothesis of grav- 
itation were true, it should be fifteen feet. But in 
1669 Picard, as we have seen, executed the measure- 
ment of a degree more carefully than had previously 
been done ; this changed the estimate of the magnitude 
of the earth, and, therefore, of the distance of the moon ; 
and, Newton's attention having been directed to it by 
some discussions that took place at the Eoyal Society in 
1679, he obtained Picard's results, went home, took out 
his old papers, and resumed his calculations. As they 
drew to a close, he became so much agitated that he 
was obliged to desire a friend to finish them. The ex- 
pected coincidence was established. It was proved that 
the moon is retained in her orbit and made to revolve 
round the earth by the force of terrestrial gravity. The 
genii of Kepler had given place to the vortices of Des- 
cartes, and these in their turn to the central force of 

In like manner the earth, and each of the planets, 
are made to move in an elliptic orbit round the sun by 
his attractive force, and perturbations arise by reason 
of the disturbing action of the planetary masses on one 
another. Knowing the masses and the distances, these 
disturbances may be computed. Later astronomers have 
even succeeded with the inverse problem, that is, know- 
ing the perturbations or disturbances, to find the place 
and the mass of the disturbing body. Thus, from the 

NEWTON. 237 

deviations of Uranus from his theoretical position, the 
discovery of Neptune was accomplished. 

Newton's ment consisted in this, that he applied the 
laws of dynamics to the movements of the celestial 
bodies, and insisted that scientific theories must be sub- 
stantiated by the agreement of observations with calcu- 

When Kepler announced his three laws, they were 
received with condenmation by the spiritual authorities, 
not because of any error they were supposed to present 
or to contain, but partly because they gave support to 
the Copemican system, and partly because it was judged 
inexpedient to admit the prevalence of law of any kind 
as opposed to providential intervention. The world 
was regarded as the theatre in which the divine will was 
daily displayed ; it was considered derogatory to the ma- 
jesty of God that that will should be fettered in any way. 
The power of the clergy was chiefly manifested in the 
influence they were alleged to possess in changing his 
arbitrary determinations. It was thus that they could 
abate the baleful action of comets, secure fine weather or 
rain, prevent eclipses, and, arresting the course of Na- 
ture, work all manner of mii*acles; it was thus that the 
shadow had been made to go back on the dial, and the 
sun and the moon stopped in mid-career. 

In the century preceding the epoch of Newton, a 
great religious and political revolution had taken place 
— ^the Kef ormation. Though its effect had not been the 
securing of complete liberty for thought, it had weak- 
ened many of the old ecclesiastical bonds. In the re- 
formed countries there was no power to express a con- 
demnation of Newton's works, and among the clergy 
there was no disposition to give thenaselves any concern 
about the matter. At first the attention of the Protes- 


tant was engrossed by the movements of his great enemy 
the Catholic, and when that source of disquietude ceased, 
and the inevitable partitions of the Kef ormation arose, 
that attention was fastened upon the rival and antag- 
onistic Churches. The Lutheran, the Calvinist, the 
Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, had something more 
urgent on hand than Newton's mathematical demon- 

So, uncondemned, and indeed unobserved, in thiF 
clamor of fighting sects, Newton's grand theory solidly 
established itself. Its philosophical significance was 
infinitely more momentous than the dogmas that these 
persons were quarreling about. It not only accepted 
the heliocentric theory and the laws discovered by Kep- 
ler, but it proved that, no matter what might be the 
weight of opposing ecclesiastical authority, the sun rrmst 
be the centre of our system, and that Kepler's laws are 
the result of a mathematical necessity. It is impossible 
that they should be other than they are. 

But what is the meaning of all this ? Plainly that 
the solar system is not interrupted by providential inter- 
ventions, but is under the government of irreversible 
law — ^law that is itself the issue of mathematical neces- 

The telescopic observations of Herschel I. satisfied 
him that there are very many double stars— dx)uble 
not merely because they are accidentally in the same 
line of view, but because they are connected physically, 
revolving round each other. These observations were 
continued and greatly extended by Herschel II. The 
elements of the elliptic orbit of the double star | of the 
Great Bear were determined by Savary, its period being 
fifty-eight and ona^juarter years ; those of another, <r 
Cor onse, were determined by Hind, its period being more 


than seven hundred and thirty-six years. The orbital 
movement of these double suns in ellipses compels us 
to admit that the law of gravitation holds good far be- 
yond the boundaries of the solar system ; indeed, as far 
as the telescope can reach, it demonstrates the reign of 
law. D'Alembert, in the Introduction to the Encyclo- 
paedia, says : " The universe i^ but a single fact ; it is only 
one great truth." 

Shall we, then, conclude that the solar and the starry 
systems have been called into existence by God, and 
tiat he has then imposed upon them by his arbitrary 
will laws under the control of which it was his pleasure 
that their movements should be made ? 

Or are there reasons for believing that these several 
systems came into existence not by such an arbitrary fiat, 
but through the operation of law ? 

The following are some peculiarities displayed by 
the solar system as enumerated by Laplace. AU the 
planets and their satellites move in eljipses of such small 
eccentricity that they are nearly circles. All the planets 
move in the same direction and nearly in the same 
plane. The movements of the satellites are in the same 
direction as those of the planets. The movements of 
rotation of the sun, of the planets, and the satellites, are 
in the same direction as their orbital motions, and in 
planes little different. 

It is impossible that so many coincidences could be 
the result of chance I Is it not plain that there must 
liave been a common tie among all these bodies, that 
they are only parts of what must once have been a sin- 
gle mass } 

But if we admit that the substance of which the 
solar system consists once existed in a nebulous con- 
dition, and was in rotation, all the above peculiarities 


follow as necessary mechanical consequences. Nay, 
more, the formation of planets, the formation of satel- 
lites and of asteroids, is accounted for. We see why 
the outer planets and satellites are larger than the in- 
terior ones ; why the larger planets rotate rapidly, and 
the small ones slowly ; why of the satellites the outer 
planets have more, the inner fewer. "We are furnished 
with indications of the time of revolution of the planets 
in their orbits, and of the satellites in theirs ; we per- 
ceive the mode of formation of Saturn's rings. We 
find an explanation of the physical condition of the sun, 
and the transitions of condition through which the earth 
and moon have passed, as indicated by their geology. 

But two exceptions to the above peculiarities have 
been noted ; they are in the cases of Uranus and Nep- 

The existence of such a nebulous mass once admit- 
ted, aU the rest follows as a matter of necessity. Is 
there not, howeverj^a most serious objection in the way ? 
Is not this to exclude Almighty God from the worlds 
he has made i 

First, we must be satisfied whether there is ai.y soUd 
evidence for admitting the existence of such a nebulous 

The nebular hypothesis rests primarily on the tele- 
scopic discovery made by Herschel I., that there are 
scattered here and there in the heavens pale, gleaming 
patches of light, a few of which are large enough to be 
visible to the naked eye. Of these, many may be re- 
solved by a sufficient telescopic power into a congeries 
of stars, but some, such as the great nebula in Orion, 
have resisted the best instrmnents hitherto made. 

It was asserted by those who were indisposed to ac- 
cept the nebular hypothesis, that the non-resolution was 


due to imperfection in the telescopes used. In these 
instruments two distinct functions may be observed : 
their light-gathering power depends on the diameter of 
their object mirror or lens, their defining power depends 
on the exquisite correctness of their optical surfaces. 
Grand instruments may possess the former quality in 
perfection by reason of their size, but the latter very 
imperfectly, either through want of original configura- 
tion, or distortion arising from flexure through their 
own weight. But, unless an instrument be perfect in 
this respect, as well as adequate in the other, it may fail 
to decompose a nebula into discrete points. 

Fortunately, however, other means for the settle- 
ment of this question are available. In 1846, it was 
discovered by the author of this book that the spectrum 
of an ignited solid is continuous — that is, has neither 
dark nor bright lines. Fraunhof er had previously made 
known that the spectrum of ignited gases is discontin- 
uous. Here, theli, is the means of determining whether 
the light emitted by a given nebula comes from an in- 
candescent gas, or from a congeries of ignited solids, 
stars, or suns. If its spectrum be discontinuous, it is a 
true nebula or gas ; if continuous, a congeries of stars. 

In 1864, Mr. Huggins made this examination in the 
case of a nebula in the constellation Draco. It proved 
to be gaseous. 

Subsequent observations have shown that, of sixty 
nebulae examined, nineteen give discontinuous or gas- 
eous spectra — ^the remainder continuous ones. 

It may, therefore, be admitted that physical evidence 
has at length been obtained, demonstrating the exist- 
euce of vast masses of matter in a gaseous condition, 
and at a temperature of incandescence. The hypothesis 
of Laplace has thus a firm basis. In such a nebular 


mass, cooling by radiation is a necessary incident, and 
condensation and rotation the inevitable results. There 
must be a separation of rings all lying in one plane, a 
generation of planets and satellites all rotating alike, 
a central sun and engirdling globes. From a chaotic 
mass, through the operation of natural laws, an organ- 
ized system has been produced. An integration of 
matter into worlds has taken place through a decline 
of heat. 

If such be the cosmogony of the solar system, such 
the genesis of the planetary worlds, we are constrained 
to extend our views of the dominion of law, and to 
recognize its agency in the creation as well as in the 
conservation of the innumerable orbs that throng the 

But, again, it may be asked : " Is there not some- 
thing profoundly impious in this ? Are we not exclud- 
ing Ahnighty God from the world he has made ? " 

"We have often witnessed the formation of a cloud 
in a serene sky. A hazy point, barely perceptible — ^a 
little wreath of mist — ^increases in volume, and becomes 
darker and denser, until it obscures a large portion of 
the heavens. It throws itself into fantastic shapes, it 
gathers a glory from the sun, is borne onward by the 
wind, and, perhaps, as it gradually came, so it gradually 
disappears, melting away in the untroubled air. 

Now, we say that the little vesicles of which this 
cloud was composed arose from the condensation of 
water-vapor preexisting in the atmosphere, through re- 
duction of temperature; we show how they assumed 
the form they present. We assign optical reasons for 
the brightness or blackness of the cloud ; we explain, 
on mechanical principles, its drifting before the wind ; 
for its disappearance we account on the principles of 


chemistry. It never occurs to ns to invoke the inter- 
position of the Almighty in the production and fashion- 
ing of this fugitive form. "We explain all the facts con- 
nected with it by physical laws, and perhaps should 
reverentially hesitate to call into operation the finger 
of God. 

But the universe is nothing more than such a cloud — 
a cloud of suns and worlds. Supremely gi-and though 
it may seem to us, to the Infinite and Eternal Intellect 
it is no more than a fieeting mist. If there be a multi- 
plicity of worlds in infinite space, there is also a suc- 
cession of worlds in infinite time. As one after another 
cloud replaces cloud in the skies, so this starry system, 
the universe, is the successor of countless others that 
have preceded it — ^the predecessor of countless others 
that wiU follow. There is an unceasing metamorpho- 
sis, a sequencQ of events, without beginning or end. 

If, on physical principles, we account for minor me- 
teorological incidents, mists and clouds, is it not permis- 
sible for us to appeal to the same principle in the origin 
of world-systems and universes, which are only clouds 
on a space-scale somewhat larger, mists on a time-scale 
somewhat less transient ? Can any man place the line 
which bounds the physical on one side, the supernatural 
on the other ? Do not our estimates of the extent and 
the duration of things depend altogether on our point 
of view ? "Were we set in the midst of the great nebula 
of Orion, how transcendently magnificent the scene I The 
vast transformations, the condensations of a fiery mist 
into worlds, might seem worthy of the immediate pres- 
ence, the supervision of God ; here, at our distant sta- 
tion, where millions of miles are inappreciable to our 
eyes, and suns seem no bigger than motes in the air, 
that nebula is mofe insignificant than the faintest cloud. 


GalileOj in Ids description of the constellation of Orion, 
did not think it worth while so much as to mention it. 
The most rigorous theologian of those days would have 
seen nothing to blame in imputing its origin to second- 
ary causes, nothing irreligious in failing to invoke the 
arbitrary interference of God in its metamorphoses. If 
such be the conclusion to which we come respecting it, 
what would be the conclusion to which an Intelligence 
seated in it might come respecting us ? It occupies an 
extent of space millions of times greater than that of our 
solar system; we are invisible from it, and therefore 
absolutely insignificant. Would such ah Intelligence 
think it necessary to require for our origin and main- 
tenance the immediate intervention of God ? 

From the solar system let us descend to what is still 
more insignificant — ^a little portion of it ; let us descend 
to our own earth. In the lapse of time it has expe- 
rienced great changes. Have these been due to inces- 
sant divine interventions, or to the continuous operation 
of unfailing law? The aspect of Nature perpetually 
varies imder our eyes, still more grandly and strikingly 
has it altered in geological times. But the laws guiding 
those changes never exhibit the slightest variation. In 
the midst of immense vicissitudes they are immutable. 
The present order of things is only a link in a vast con- 
nected chain reaching back to an incalculable past, and 
forward to an infinite future. 

There is evidence, geological and astronomical, that 
the temperature of the earth and her satellite was in 
the remote past very much higher than it is now. A 
decline so slow as to be imperceptible at short intervals, 
but manifest enough in the course of many ages, has oo- 
curred. The heat has been lost by radiation into space. 


The cooling of a mass of any kind, no matter whether 
large or small, is not discontinuous ; it does not go on by 
fits and starts; it takes place under the operation of a 
mathematical law, though for such mighty changes as 
are here contemplated neither the formula of Newton, 
nor that of Dulong and Petit, may apply. It signifies 
nothing that periods of partial decline, glacial periods, 
or others of temporary elevation, have been intercalated ; 
it signifies nothing whether these variations may have 
arisen from topographical variations, as those of level, 
or from periodicities in the radiation of the sun. A 
periodical sun would act as a mere perturbation in the 
gradual decline of heat. The perturbations of the 
planetary motions ai*e a confirmation, not a disproof, of 

Now, such a decline of temperature must have been 
attended by innumerable changes of a physical character 
in our globe. Her dimensions must have diminished 
through contraction, the length of her day must have 
lessened, her surface must have collapsed, and fractures 
taken place along the lines of least resistance ; the density 
of the sea must have increased, its volume must have 
become less ; the constitution of the atmosphere must 
have varied, especially in the amount of water-vapor 
and carbonic acid that it contained ; the barometric press- 
ure must have declined. 

These changes, and very many more that might be 
mentioned, must have taken place not in a discontinuous 
but in an orderly manner, since the master-fact, the 
decline of heat, that was causing them, was itseK follow- 
ing a mathematical law. 

But not alone did lifeless Nature submit to these 
inevitable mutations ; living Nature was also simultane- 
ously affected. 


An organic form of any kind, vegetable or animal, 
wiU remain nnelianged only so long as the environment 
inwldch it is placed remains unchanged. Should an 
alteration in the environment occur, the organism will 
either be modified or destroyed. • 

Destruction is more likely to happen as the change 
in the environment is more sudden; modification or 
transformation is more possible as that change is more 

Since it is demonstrably certain that lifeless Nature 
has in the lapse of ages undergone vast modifications ; 
since the crust of the earth, and the sea, and the atmos- 
phere, are no longer such as they once were ; since the 
distribution of the land and the ocean and all manner 
of physical conditions have varied; since there have been 
such grand changes in the environment of living things 
on the surface of our planet — ^it necessarily follows that 
organic Nature must have passed through destructions 
and transformations in correspondence thereto. 

That such extinctions, such modifications, have taken 
place, how copious, how convincing, is the evidence 1 

Here, again, we must observe that, since the disturb- 
ing agency was itself following a mathematical law, 
these its results must be considered as following that law 

Such considerations, then, plainly force upon us the 
conclusion that the organic progress of the world has 
been guided by the operation of immutable law — ^not 
determined by discontinuous, disconnected, arbitrary in- 
terventions of God. They incline us to view favorably 
the idea of transmutations of one form into another, 
rather than that of sudden creations. 

Creation implies an abrupt appearance, transforma- 
tion a gradual change. 


In this manner is presented to our contemplation 
the great theory of Evolution. Every organic being 
has a place in a chain of events. It is not An isolated, 
a capricious fact, but an unavoidable phenomenon. It 
has its place in that vast, orderly concourse which has 
successively risen in the past, has introduced the pres- 
ent, and is preparing the way for a predestined future. 
From point to point in this vast progression there has 
been a gradual, a definite, a continuous imfolding, a 
resistless order of evolution. But in the midst of these 
mighty changes stand forth immutable the laws that are 
dominating over all. 

If we examine the introduction of any type of life 
in the animal series, we find that it is in accordance 
with transformation, not with creation. Its beginning 
is under an imperfect form in the midst of other forms, 
of which the time is nearly complete, and which are 
passing into extinction. By degrees, one species after 
another in succession more and more perfect arises, un- 
til, after many ages, a culmination is reached. From 
that there is, in like manner, a long, a gradual decline. 

Thus, though the mammal type of life is the charac- 
teristic of the Tertiary and post-Tertiary periods, it does 
not suddenly make its appearance without premonition 
in those periods. Far back, in the Secondary, we find 
it under imperfect forms, struggling, as it were, to make 
good a foothold. At length it gains a predominance 
under higher and better models. 

' So, too, of reptiles, the characteristic type of life of 
the Secondary period. As we see in a dissolving view, 
out of the fading outlines of a scene that is passing 
away, the dim form of a new one emerging, which gi'ad- 
ually gains strength, reaches its culmination, and then 
melts away in some other that is displacing it, so rep- 


tile-life doubtfully appears, reaches its culmination, and 
gradually declines. In all this there is nothing abrupt ; 
the changes shade into each other by insensible degrees. 

How could it be otherwise ? The hot-blooded ani- 
mals could not exist in an atmosphere so laden with 
carbonic acid as was that of the primitive times. But 
the removal of that noxious ingredient from the air 
by the leaves of plants under the influence of sunlight, 
the enveloping of its carbon in the earth under the form 
of coal, the disengagement of its oxygen, permitted their 
life. As the atmosphere was thus modified, the sea was 
involved in the change ; it surrendered a large part of its 
carbonic acid, and the limestone hitherto held in solu- 
tion by it was deposited in the solid form. For every 
equivalent of carbon buried in the earth, there was an 
equivalent of carbonate of lime separated from the sea 
—not necessarily in an amorphous condition, most fre- 
quently under an organic form. The sunshine kept up 
its work day by day, but there were demanded myriads 
of days for the work to be completed. It was a slow 
passage from a noxious to a purified atmosphere, and 
an equally slow passage from a cold-blooded to a hot- 
blooded type of life. But the physical changes were 
taking place under the control of law, and the organic 
transformations were not sudden or arbitrary providen- 
tial acts. They were the immediate, the inevitable con- 
sequences of the physical changes, and therefore, like 
them, the necessary issue of law. 

For a more detailed consideration of this subject, I 
may refer the reader to Chapters I., II., VII., of the 
f econd book of my " Treatise on Human Physiology," 
published in 1856. 

Is the world, then, governed by law or by providen- 


tial interventions, abruptly breaking the proper sequence 
of events? 

To complete our view of this question, we turn 
finally to what, in one sense, is the most insignificant, 
in another the most important, case that can be consid- 
ered. Do human societies,, in their historic career, 
exhibit the marks of a predetermined progress in an 
unavoidable track ? Is there any evidence that the life 
of nations is under the control of inunutable law ? 

May we conclude that, in society, as in the individ- 
ual man, parts never spring from nothing, but are evolved 
or developed from parts that are already in existence ? 

If any one should object to or deride the doctrine 
of the evolution or successive developnient of the ani- 
mated forms which constitute that unbroken organic 
chain reaching from the beginning of life on the globe 
to the present times, let him reflect that he has himseK 
passed through modifications the counterpart of those 
he disputes. For nine months his type of life was 
aquatic, and during that time he assumed, in succession, 
many distinct but correlated forms. At birth his type 
of life became aerial ; he began respiring the atmospher- 
ic air; new elements of food were supplied to him ; the 
mode of his nutrition changed ; but as yet he could see 
nothing, hear nothing, notice nothing. By degrees 
conscious existence was assumed ; he became aware that 
there is an external world. In due time organs adapted to 
another change of food, the teeth, appeared, and a change 
of food ensued. He then passed through the stages of 
childhood and youth, his bodily form developing, and 
with it his intellectual powers. At about fifteen years, 
in consequence of the evolution which special parts of 
his system had attained, his moral character changed. 
New ideas, new passions, influenced him. And that 


that was the cause, and tliis the effect, is demonstrated 
when, by the skill of the surgeon, those parts have been 
interfered with. Nor does the development, the meta- 
morphosis, tod here ; it requires many years for the body 
to reach its full perfection, many years for the mind. 
A cxdmination is at length reached, and then there is a 
decline. I need not picture its mournful incidents — 
the corporeal, the intellectual enfeeblement. Perhaps 
there is little exaggeration in saying that in less than a 
century every human being on the face of the globe, if 
not cut off in an untimely manner, has passed through 
all these changes. 

Is there for each of us a providential intervention as 
we thus pass from stage to stage of life ? or shall we 
not rather believe that the countless myriads of human 
beings who have peopled the earth have been under the 
guidance of an unchanging, a universal law ? 

But individuals are the elementary constituents of 
communities — ^nations. They maintain therein a rela- 
tion like that which the particles of the body maintain 
to the body itseH, These, introduced into it, comnience 
and complete their function ; they die, and are dismissed. 

Like the individual, the nation comes into existence 
without its own knowledge, and dies without its own 
consent, often against its own will* National life differs 
in no particular from individual, except in this, that it 
is spread over a longer span, but no nation can escape its 
inevitable term. Each, if its history be well considered, 
shows its time of infancy, its time of youth, its time of 
maturity, its time of decline, if its phases of life be com- 
I leted. 

In the phases of existence of all, so far as those 
phases are completed, there are common characteristics, 
and, as like accordances in individuals point out that all 


are living under a reign of law, we are justified in in- 
ferring tliat the course of nations, and indeed the prog- 
ress of humanity, does not take place in a chance or 
random way, that supernatural interventions never break 
the chain of historic acts, that every historic eyent has 
,it8 warrant in some preceding event, and gives war- 
rant to others that are to follow. 

But this conclusion is the essential principle of Stoi- 
cism — ^that Grecian philosophical system which, as I 
have already said, offered a support in their hour of 
trial and an unwavering guide in the vicissitudes of life, 
not only to many illustrious Greeks, but also to some of 
the great philosophers, statesmen, generals, and emper- 
ors of Eome; a system which excluded chance from 
every thing, and asserted the direction of all events by 
irresistible necessity, to the promotion of perfect good ; 
a system of earnestness, sternness, austerity, virtue — 
a protest in favor of the common-sense of mankind. 
And perhaps we shall not dissent from the remark of 
Montesquieu, who afiirms that the destruction of the 
Stoics was a great calamity to the human race ; for they 
alone made great citizens, great men. 

To the principle of government by law, Latin Chris- 
tianity, in its papal form, is in absolute contradiction. 
The history of this branch of the Christian Church is 
almost a diaiy of miracles and supernatural interven- 
tions. These show that the supplications of holy men 
have often arrested the course of Nature — ^if , indeed, 
there be any such course ; that images and pictures have 
worked wonders; that bones, hairs, and other sacred rel- 
ics, have wrought miracles. The criterion or proof oi 
the authenticity of many of these objects is, not an un 
challengeable record of their origin and history, but an 
exhibition of their miracle-working powers. 


Is not that a strange logic wliicli finds proof of an 
asserted fact in an inexplicable illustration of sometliing 

Even in the darkest ages intelligent Cliristian men 
must have had misgivings as to these alleged providen- 
tial or miraculous interventions. There is a solemn 
grandeur in the orderly progress of Nature which pro- 
foundly impresses us ; and such is the character of con- 
tinuity in the events of our individual life that we in- 
stinctively doubt the occurrence of the supernatural in 
that of our neighbor. The intelligent man knows well 
that, for his personal behoof, the course of Nature has 
never been checked ; for him no miracle has ever been 
worked ; he attributes justly every event of his life to 
some antecedent event ; this he looks upon as the cause,* 
that as the consequence. When it is aflSrmed that, in 
his neighbor's behalf, such grand interventions have been 
vouchsafed, he cannot do otherwise than believe that his 
neighbor is either deceived, or practising deception. 

As might, then, have been anticipated, the Catho- 
lic doctiine of miraculous intervention received a rude 
shock at the time of the Kef ormation, when predestina- 
tion and election were upheld by some of the greatest 
theologians, and accepted by some of the greatest Prot- 
estant Churches. "With stoical austerity Calvin declares : 
" We were elected from eternity, before the foundation 
of the world, from no merit of our own, but accordiDg 
to the purpose of the divine pleasure." In aflHrming 
this, Calvin was resting on the belief that God has from 
all eternity decreed whatever comes to pass. Thus, 
after the lapse of many ages, were again emerging into 
prominence the ideas of the Basilidians and Yalen- 
tinians. Christian sects of the second century^ whose 
Gnostical views led to the engraftment of the great 


doctrine of the Trinity upon Cliristiamty. They assert- 
ed that all the actions of men are necessary, that even 
faith is a natural gift, to which men are forcibly deter- 
mined, and must therefore be saved, though their lives 
be ever so irregular. From the Supreme God all things 
proceeded. Thus, also, came into prominence the views 
which were developed by Augustine in his work, " De 
dono perseverantise," These were : that God, by his 
arbitrary will, has selected certain persons without re- 
spect to foreseen faith or good works, and has infallibly 
ordained to bestow upon them eternal happiness ; other 
persons, in like manner, he has condemned to eternal 
reprobation. The Sublapsarians believed that "God 
permitted the fall of Adam;" the Supralapsarians that 
"he predestinated it, with all its pernicious conse- 
quences, from all eternity, and that our first parents 
had no liberty from the beginning." ' In this, these 
sectarians disregarded the remark of St. Augustine: 
" Nef as est dicere Deum aliquid nisi bonum predesti- 

Is it true, then, that " predestination to eternal hap- 
piness is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, be- 
fore the foundations of the world were laid, he hath 
constantly . decreed by his council, secret to us, to de- 
liver from curse and damnation those whom he hath 
chosen out of mankind?" Is it true that of the hu- 
man family there are some who, in view of no fault of 
their own. Almighty God has condemned to unending 
torture, eternal misery ? 

In 1595 the Lambeth Articles asserted that "God 
from eternity hath predestinated certain men unto life ; 
certain he hath reprobated." In 1618 the Synod of 
Dort decided in favor of this view. It condemned the 
remonstrants against it, and treated them with such se- 


verity, tliat many of them had to flee to foreign coun- 
tries. Even in the Church of England, as is manifested 
by its seventeenth Article of Faith, these doctrines have 
found favor. 

Probably there was no point which brought down 
from the Catholics on the Protestants severer condemna- 
tion than this, their partial acceptance of the govern- 
ment of the world by law. In all Eeformed Europe 
miracles ceased. But, with the cessation of shrine-cure, 
relic-cure, great pecuniary profits ended. Indeed, as is 
well known, it was the sale of indulgences that pro- 
voked the Eef ormation^ — ^indulgences which are essen- 
tially a permit from God for the practice of sin, condi- 
tioned on the payment of a certain sum of money to the 
priest. ' ■ 

Philosophically, the Eeformation implied a protest 
against the Catholic doctrine of incessant divine inter- 
vention in human affairs, invoked by sacerdotal agency ; 
but this protest was far from bding fully made by all 
the Eeforming Churches. The evidence in behalf of 
government by law, which has of late years been offered 
by science, is received by many of them with suspicion, 
perhaps with dislike ; sentiments which, however, must 
eventually give way before the hourly-increasing weight 
of evidence. 

Shall we not, then, conclude with Cicero, who, 
quoted by Lactantius, says : " One eternal and immu« 
table law embraces all things and all times ?" 



For more than a thowand years Latin Christianity controlled the inteHU* 
gence of Europe, and is responsible for the result, 

TTuU result is manifested by the condition of the city of Home at the Itef- 
ormationy and by the condition of the Continent of Europe in domes- 
tie and social life. — European nations suffered under the coexistence 
of a dual govemmeniy a spiritual and a temporal, — They were inu 
mersed in ignorance, superstition, discomfort. — ExplanaUon of the 
failure of Catholicism. — Political history of the papacy: it was 
transmuted from a spirittud confederacy into an absolute monarchy. 
— Action of the College of Cardinals and the Curia. — Demoraliza' 
Hon that ensued from the necessity of raising large revenues. 

The advantages accruing to Europe during the Catholic rule arose not from 
direct intention, but were incidental. 

The general resuU is, thai tJic political influence of Catholicism was preju* 
dicial to modem civilization. 

Latin Christianity is responsible for the condition 
and progress of Europe from the fourth to the sixteenth 
century. We have now to examine how it discharged 
its trust. 

It will be convenient to limit to the case of Europe 
what has here to be presented, though, from the claim 
of the papacy to superhuman origin, and its demand for 
universal obedience, it should strictly be held to account 
for the condition of all mankind. Its inefficacy against 
the great and venerable religions of Southern and East- 


em Asia would furnish an important and instructive 
theme for consideration, and lead us to the conclusion 
that it has impressed itseK only where Eoman imperial 
influences have prevailed ; a political conclusion which, 
however, it contemptuously rejects. 

Doubtless at the inception of the Reformation there 
were many persons who compared. the existing sodrfr 
condition with what it had been in ancient timea^ffor- 
als had not changed, intelligence had not advanced, so- 
ciety had little improved. From the Eternal City itself 
its splendors had vanished. The marble streets, of 
which Augustus had once boasted, had disappeared. 
Temples, broken columns, and the long, arcaded vistas 
of gigantic aqueducts bestriding the desolate Campagna, 
presented a mournful scene. From the uses to which 
they had been respectively put, the Capitol had been 
known as Goats' Hill, and the site of the Koman Fo- 
rum, whence laws had been issued to the world, as Cows' 
Field. The palace of the Csesars was hidden by mounds 
of earth, crested with flowering shrubs. The baths of 
Caracalla, with their porticoes, gardens, reservoirs, had 
long ago become useless through the destruction of their 
supplying aqueducts. On the ruins of that grand edi- 
flce, " flowery glades and thickets of odoriferous trees 
extended in ever-winding labyrinths upon immense 
platforms, and dizzy arches suspended in the air." Of 
the Coliseum, the most colossal of Roman ruins, only 
about one-third remained. Once capable of accommo- 
dating nearly ninety thousand spectators, it had, in suc- 
cession, been turned into a fortress in the middle ages, 
and then into a stone-quarry to furnish material for the 
palaces of degenerate Roman princes. Some of the popes 
had occupied it as a woollen-mill, some as a saltpetre- 
factory ; some had planned the conversion of its mag- 


nificent arcades into shops for tradesmen. Tlie iron 
clamps winch bound its stones together had been stolen. 
The walls were fissured and falling. Even in our own 
times botanical works have been composed on the plants 
which have made this noble wreck their home. " The 
Flora of the Coliseum" contains four hundred and 
twenty species. Among the ruins of classical buildings 
might be seen broken columns, cypresses, and mouldy 
frescoes, dropping from the walls. Even the vegetable 
world participated in the melancholy change : the myrtle, 
which once flourished on the Aventine, had nearly be- 
come extinct ; the laurel, which once gave its leaves to 
encircle the brows of emperors, had been replaced by 
ivy — ^the companion of death. 

But perhaps it may be said the popes were not re- 
sponsible for all this. Let it be remembered that in 
less than one hundred and forty years the city had been 
successively taken by Alaric, Genseric, Ricimer, Viti- 
ges, Totila ; that many of its great edifices had been 
converted into defensive works. The aqueducts were 
destroyed by Vitiges, who ruined the Campagna ; the 
palace of the Caesars was ravaged by Totila ; then there 
had been the Lomlard sieges; then Robert Guiscard 
and his Normans had burnt the city from the Antonine 
Column to the Flaminian Gate, from the Lateran to the 
Capitol ; then it was sacked and mutilated by the Con- 
stable Bourbon ; again and again it was flooded by in- 
undations of the Tiber and shattered by earthquakes. 
"We must, however, bear in mind the accusation of 
Machiavelli, who says, in his " BKstory of Florence," 
that nearly all the barbarian invasions of Italy were by 
the invitations of the pontiffs, who called in those 
hordes 1 It was not the Goth, nor the Vandal, nor Hie 
Norman, nor the Saracen, but the popes and their neph 


ews, who produced tlie dilapidation of Rome 1 Lime- 
kilns had been fed from the ruins, classical buildings 
had become stone-quarries for the palaces of Italian 
princes, and churches were decorated from thje old 

Churches decorated from the temples! It is for 
this and such as this that the popes must be held respon- 
sible. Superb Corinthian columns had been chiseled 
into images of the saints. Magnificent Egyptian obe- 
lisks had been dishonored by papal inscriptions. The 
Septizonium of Severus had been demolished to furnish 
materials for the building of St; Peter's ; the bronze 
roof of the Pantheon had been melted into columns to 
ornament the apostle's tomb. 

The great beU of Viterbo, in the tower of the Capi- 
tol, had announced the death of many a pope, and still 
desecration of the buildings and demoralization of the 
people went on. Papal Home manifested no consider- 
ation, but rather hatred, for classical Home. The pon- 
tiffs had been subordinates of the Byzantine sovereigns, 
then lieutenants of the Prankish kings, then arbiters of 
Europe; their government had changed as much as 
those of any of the surrounding nations; there had 
been complete metamorphoses in its maxims, objects, 
claims. In one point only it had never changed — ^in- 
tolerance. Claiming to be the centre of th^ religious 
life of Europe, it steadfastly refused to recognize any 
religious existence outside of itself, yet both in a polit- 
ical and theological sense it was rotten to the core. 
Erasmus and Luther heard with amazement the blas- 
phemies and witnessed with a shudder the atheism of 
the city. 

The historian Eanke, to whom I am indebted for 
many of these facts, has depicted in a very graphic man- 


ner the demoralization of the great metropolis. The 
popes were, for the most part, at their election, aged 
men. Power was, therefore, incessantly passing into 
new hands. Every election was a revolution in pros* 
pects and expectations. In a community where all 
might rise, where all might aspire to all, it necessarily 
followed that every man was occupied in thrustiog some 
other into the background. Though the population of 
the city at the inception of the Eef ormation had sunk 
to eighty thousand, there were vast crowds of placemen, 
Mid still greater ones of aspirants for place. The suc- 
cessful occupant of the pontificate had thousands of oflices 
to give away — offices from many of which the incum- 
bents had been remorselessly ejected ; many had been 
created for the purpose of sale. The integrity and 
capacity of an applicant were never inquired into ; the 
points considered ware, what services has he rendered or 
can he render to the party ? how much can he pay for 
the preferment? An American reader can thoroughly 
realize this state of things. At every presidential elec- 
tion he witnesses similar acts. The election of a pope 
by the Conclave is not unlike the nomination of an 
Ajnerican president by a convention. In both cases 
there are many offices to give away. 

William of Malmesbury says that in his day the Ko- 
mans madcra sale of whatever was righteous and sacred 
for gold. After his time there was no improvement ; 
the Church degenerated into an instrument for the ex- 
ploitation of money. Vast sums were collected in Italy ; 
vast sums were drawn under all manner of pretenses 
from surrounding and reluctant countries. Of these 
the most nefarious was the sale of indulgences for the 
perpetration of sin. Italian religion had become the 
art of plundering the people. 


For more than a thousand years the sovereign pon- 
tiflEs had been rulers of the city. True, it had witnessed 
many scenes of devastation for which they were npt re- 
sponsible ; but they were responsible for this, that they 
had never made any vigorous, any persistent effort for 
its material, its moral improvement. Instead of being 
in these respects an exemplar for the imitation of the 
world, it became an exemplar of a condition that ought 
to be shunned. Things steadily went on from bad to 
worse, until at the epoch of the Eef ormation no pious 
stranger could visit it without being shocked. 

The papacy, repudiating science as absolutely incom- 
patible with its pretensions, had in later years addressed 
itself to the enQouragement of art. But music and 
painting, though they may be exquisite adornments of 
life, contain no living force that can develop a weak 
nation into a strong one ; nothing that can permanently 
assure the material well-being or happiness of communi- 
ties ; and hence at the time of the Kef ormation, to one 
who thoughtfully considered her condition, Eome had 
lost all living energy. She was no longer the arbiter of 
the physical or the religious progress of the world. For 
the progressive maidms of the republic and the empire, 
she had substituted the stationary maxims of the papacy. 
She had the appearance of piety and the possession of art. 
In this she resembled one of those friar-corpses which 
wo still see in their brown cowls in the vaults of the 
Cappuccini, with a breviary or some withered flowers in 
its hands. 

From this view of the Eternal City, this survey of 
what Latin Christianity had done for Eome itself, let us 
turn to the whole European Continent. Let us try to 
determine the true value of the system that was guiding 
society ; let us judge it by its fruits. 


The condition of nations as to their well-being is 
most precisely represented by the variations of their 
population. Forms of government have very little 
influence on population, but policy may control it com- 

It has been very satisfactorily shown by authors who 
have given attention to the subject, that the variations 
of population depend upon the interbalancing of the 
generative force of society and the resistances to life. 

By the generative force of society is meant that in- 
stinct which manifests itself in the multiplication of the 
race. To some extent it depends on climate ; but, since 
the climate of Europe did not sensibly change between 
the fourth and the sixteenth centuries, we may regard 
this force as having been, on that contment, during the 
period under consideration, invariable. 

By the resistances to life is meant whatever tends 
to make individual existence more difficult of support. 
Among such may be enumerated insufficient food, inade- 
quate clothing, imperfect shelter. 

It is also known that, if the resistances become in- 
appreciable, the generative force wUl double a popula- 
tion in twenty-five years. 

The resistances operate in two modes : 1. Physically; 
since they diminish the number of births, and shorten 
the term of the life of all. 2. Intellectually ; since, in 
a moral, and particularly in a religious conununity, they 
postpone marriage, by causing individuals to decline its 
responsibilities imtil they feel that they are competent 
to meet the charges and cares of a family. Hence the 
explanation of a long-recognized fact, that the number 
of marriages during a given period has a connection 
with the price of food. 

The increase of population keeps pace with the in- 


crease of food ; and, indeed, sncli being the power of 
the generative force, it overpasses the means of sub- 
sistence, establishing a constant pressure upon them. 
Under these circumstances, it necessarily happens that 
a certain amount of destitution must occur. Individu- 
als have come into existence who must be starved. 

As illustrations of the variations that have occurred 
in the population of different countries, may be men- 
tioned the immense diminution of that of Italy in con- 
sequence of the wars of Justinian; the depopulation of 
North Africa in consequence of theological quarrels ; 
its restoration through the establishment. of Moham- 
medanism ; the increase of that of all Europe through 
the feudal system, when estates became more valuable 
in proportion to the number of retainers they could sup- 
ply. The crusades caused a sensible diminution, not 
only through the enormous army losses, but also by rea- 
son of the withdrawal of so many able-bodied men from 
marriage-life. Similar variations have occurred on the 
American Continent. The population of Mexico was 
very quickly diminished by two million through the 
rapacity and atrocious cruelty of the Spaniards, who 
drove the civilized Indians to despair. The same hap- 
pened in Peru. 

The population of England at the Norman conquest 
was about two million. In five himdred years it had 
scarcely doubled. It may be supposed that this sta- 
tionary condition was to some extent induced by the pa- 
pal policy of the enforcement of celibacy in the clergy. 
The "legal generative force" was doubtless ajBfected by 
that policy, the " aetual generative force '^ was not. For 
those who have made this subject their study have long 
ago been satisfied that public celibacy is private wick- 
edness. This mainly determined the laity, as well as 


the government in England, to suppress the monas- 
teries. It was openly asserted that there were one hun- 
dred thousand women in England made dissolute by 
the clergy. 

In my history of the "American Civil War," I have 
presented some reflections on this point, which I will 
take the liberty of quoting here : " "What, then, does this 
stationary condition of the population mean ? It means, 
food obtamed with hardship, insufficient clothing, per- 
sonal uncleanness, cabins that could not keep out the 
weather, the destructive effects of cold and heat, iniaBm, 
want of sanitary provisions, absence of physicians, use- 
lessness of shrine-cure, the deceptiveness of miracles, in 
which society was putting its trust ; or, to sum up a long 
catalogue of sorrows, wants, and sufferings, in one term 
—it means a high death-rate. 

" But more ; it means deficient births. And what 
does that point out? Marriage postponed, licentious 
life, private wickedness, demoralized society. 

" To an American, who lives in a coxmtry that was 
yesterday an interminable and impenetrable desert, but 
which to-day is filling with a population doubling itself 
every twenty-five years at the prescribed rate, this awful 
waste of actual and contingent life cannot but be a most 
surprising fact. His curiosity will lead him to inquire 
what kind of system that could have been which was 
pretending to guide and develop society, but which must 
be held responsible for this prodigious destruction, ex- 
celling, in its insidious result, war, pestilence, and fam- 
ine combined ; insidious, for men were actually beheving 
that it secured their highest temporal interests. How 
different now 1 In England, the same geographical sur- 
face is sustaining ten times the population of that day,, 
and sending forth its emigrating swarms. Let him, who 


looks back with veneration on the past, settle in his own 
mind what such a system could have been worth." 

These variations in the population of Europe have 
been attended with changes in distribution. The cen- 
tre of population has passed northward since the estab- 
lishment of Christianity in the Roman Empire. It has 
since passed westward, in consequence of the develop- 
ment of manufacturing industry. 

We may now examine somewhat more minutely the 
character of the resistances which thus, for a thousand 
years, kept the population of Europe stationary. The 
surface of the Continent was for the most part covered 
with pathless forests ; here and there it was dotted with 
monasteries and towns. In the lowlands and along 
the river-courses were fens, sometimes hundreds of 
mUes in extent, exhaling their pestiferous miasms, and 
spreading agues far and wide. In Paris and London, 
the houses were of wood daubed with clay, and thatched 
with straw or reeds. They had no windows, and, until 
the invention of the saw-mill, very few had wooden 
floors. The luxury of a carpet was unknown ; some 
straw, scattered in the room, supplied its place. There 
were no chimneys ; the smoke of the ill-fed, cheerless 
fire escaped through a hole in the roof. In such habi- 
tations there was scarcely any protection from the 
weather. No attempt was made at drainage, but the 
putrefying garbage and rubbish were simply thrown 
out of the door. Men, women, and children, slept in 
the same apartment; not unfrequently, domestic ani- 
mals were their companions ; in such a confusion of the 
family, it was impossible that modesty or morality could 
be maintained. The bed was usually a bag of straw, a 
wooden log served as a pillow. Personal cleanliness 


was utterly unknown; great oflScers of state, even 
dignitaries so high as the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
swarmed with vermin ; such, it is related, was the con- 
dition of Thomas d Becket, the antagonist of an Eng- 
lish king. To conceal personal impurity, perfumes were 
necessarily and profusely used. The citizen clothed 
himself in leather, a garment which, with its ever-accu- 
mulating impurity, might last for many years. He 
was considered to be in circxmastances of ease, if he 
could procure fresh meat once a week for his dinner. 
The streets had no sewers; they were without pave- 
ment or lamps. After nightfall, the chamber-shutters 
were thrown open, and slops uncieremoniously emptied 
down, to the discomfiture of the wayfarer tracking his 
path through the narrow streets, with his dismal lantern 
in his hand. 

JEneas Sylvius, who afterward became Pope Pius 
II., and was therefore a very competent and impartial 
writer, has left us a graphic account of a journey he 
made to the British Islands, about 1430. He describes 
the houses of the peasantry as constructed of stones put 
together without mortar ; the roofs were of turf, a stif- 
fened bull's-hide served for a door. The food consisted 
of coarse vegetable products, such as peas, and even 
the bark of trees. In some places they were unac- 
quainted with bread. 

Cabins of reeds plastered with mud, houses of wat- 
tled stakes, chimneyless peat-fires from which there was 
scarcely an escape for the smoke, dens of physical and 
moral pollution swarming with vermin, wisps of straw 
twisted round the limbs to keep off the cold, the ague- 
stricken peasant with no help except shrine-cure ! How 
was it possible that the population could increase ? 

Shall we, then, wonder that, in the famine of 1030, 


human flesh was cooked and sold ; or that, in that of 1 258, 
fifteen thousand persons died of hunger in London? 
Shall we wonder that, in some of the invasions of the 
plague, the deaths were so frightfully, numerous that 
the living could hardly bury the dead? .By that of 
1348, which came from the East along the lines of 
conmiercial travel, and spread all over Europe, one- 
third of the population of France was destroyed. 

Such was the condition of the peasantry, and of the 
common inhabitants of cities. Not niuch better was 
that of the nobles. William of Malmesbury, speaking 
of the degraded manners of the Anglo-Saxons, says : 
" Their nobles, devoted to gluttony and voluptuousness, 
never visited the church, but the matins and the mass 
were read over to them by a hurrying priest in their 
bedchambers, before they rose, themselves not listening. 
The common people were a prey to the more powerful ; 
their property was seized, their bodies dragged away to 
distant countries ; their maidens were either thrown into 
a brothel, or sold for slaves. Drinking, day and night, 
was the general pursuit; vices, the companions of ine- 
, briety, followed, effeminating the manly mind." The 
baronial castles were dens of robbers. The Saxon chroni- 
cler records how men and women were caught and drag- 
ged into those strongholds, hung up by their thumbs or 
feet, fire applied to them, knotted strings twisted round 
their heads, and many other torments inflicted to extort 

All over Europe, the great and profitable political 
offices were filled by ecclesiastics. In every country 
(here was a dual government : 1. That of a local kind, 
represented by a temporal sovereign ; 2. That of a for- 
eign kind, acknowledging the authority of the pope. 
Tliis Koman influence was, in the nature of things, su- 


perior to the local; it expressed the sovereign will of 
one man over all the nations of the continent conjointly, 
and gathered overwhelming power from its compact- 
ness and nnity. The local influence was necessarily of 
a feeble nature, since it was commonly weakened by 
the rivalries of conterminous states, and the dissensions 
dexterously provoked by its competitor. On not a 
single occasion could the various European states form 
a coalition against their common antagonist. When- 
ever a question arose, they were skillfully taken in de- 
tail, and commonly mastered. The ostensible object of 
papal intrusion was to secure for the different peoples 
moral well-being; the real object was to obtain large 
revenues, and give support to vast bodies of ecclesias- 
tics. The revenues thus abstracted were not infre- 
quently many times greater than those passing into the 
treasury of the local power. Thus, on the occasion of 
Innocent IV. demanding provision to be made for three 
himdred additional Italian clergy by the Church of 
England, and that one of his nephews — a mere boy — 
should have a stall in Lincoln Cathedral, it was f oxmd 
that the sum already annually abstracted by foreign 
ecclesiagtics from England was thrice that which went 
into the coffers of the king. 

. "While thus the higher clergy secured every political 
appointment worth having, and abbots vied with counts 
in the herds of slaves they possessed — some, it is said, 
owned not fewer than twenty thousand — ^begging friars 
pervaded society in all directions, picking up a share of 
what still remained to the poor. There was a vast body 
of non-producers, living in idleness and owning a foreign 
allegiance, who were subsisting on the fruits of the toil 
of the laborers. It could not be otherwise than that 
small farms should be unceasingly merged into the 


larger estates; that the poor should steadily become 
poorer ; that society, far from improving, should exhibit 
a continually increasing demoralization. Outside the 
monastic institutions no attempt at intellectual advance- 
ment was made ; indeed, so far as the laity were con- 
cerned, the influence of the Church was directed to an 
opposite result, for the maxim universally received was, 
that "ignorance is the mother of devotion." 

The settled practice of republican and imperial 
Rome was to have swift communication with all her 
outlying provinces, by means of substantial bridges and 
roads. One of the prime duties of the legions was to 
construct them and keep them in repair. By this, her 
military authority was assured. But the dominion of 
papal Eome, depending upon a different principle, had 
no exigencies of that kind, and this duty accordingly 
was left for the local powers to neglect. And so, in all 
directions, the roads were almost impassable for a large 
part of the year. A common means of transportation 
was in clumsy carts drawn by oxen, going at the most 
but three or four miles an hour. Where boat-convey- 
ance along rivers could not be had, pack-horses and 
mules were resorted to for the transportation of mer- 
chandise, an adequate means for the slender commerce 
of the times. When large bodies of men had to be 
moved, the diflSculties became almost insuperable. Of 
this, perhaps, one of the best illustrations may be found 
in the story of the march of the first Crusaders. These 
restraints upon intercommunication tended powerfully 
to promote the general benighted condition. Journeys 
by individuals could not be undertaken without much 
risk, for there was scarcely a moor or a forest that had 
not its highwaymen. 

An illiterate condition everywhere prevailing, gave 


opportunity for the development of superstition. Europe 
was full of disgraceful miracles. On all the roads pU- 
grims were wending their way to the shrines of saints, 
renowned for the cures they had wrought. It had always 
been the policy of the Church to discourage the physi- 
cian and his art ; he interfered too much with the gifts 
and profits of the shrines. Time has brought this once 
lucrative imposture to its proper value. How many 
slirines are there now in successful operation in Europe ? 

For patients too sick to move or be moved, there 
were no remedies except those of a ghostly kind — the 
Pater-noster or the Ave. For the prevention of dis- 
eases, prayers were put up in the churches, but no sani- 
tary measures were resorted to. From cities reeking 
with putrefying filth it was thought that the plague 
might be stayed by the prayers of the priests, by them 
rain and dry weather might be secured, and deliverance 
obtained from the baleful influences of eclipses and 
comets. But when Halley's comet came, in 1456, so 
tremendous was its apparition that it was necessary for 
the pope himself to interfere. He exorcised and ex- 
pelled it from the skies. It slunk away into the abysses 
of space, terror-stricken by the maledictions of Calixtus 
ni., and did not venture back for seventy-five years 1 

The physical value of shrine-cures and ghostly reme- 
dies is measured by the death-rate. In those days it 
was, probably, about one in twenty-three, under the 
present more material practice it is about one in forty. 

The moral condition of Europe was signally illus- 
trated when syphilis was introduced from the West 
Indies by the companions of Columbus. It spread with 
wonderful i-apidity; all ranks of persons, from the Holy 
Father Leo X. to the beggar by the wayside, contract- 
ing the shameful disease. Many excused their misfor- 


tune by declaring that it was an epidemic proceeding 
from a certain malignity in the constitution of the air, 
but in truth its spread was due to a certain infirmity in 
the constitution of man — an infirmity which had not 
been removed ^ the spiritual guidance under which lie 
had been living. 

To the medical eflScacy of shrines must be added 
that of special relics. These were sometimes of the 
most extraordinary kind. There were several abbeys 
that possessed our Savior's crown of thorns. Eleven had 
the lance that had pierced his side. K any person was 
adventurous enough to suggest that these could not all 
be authentic, he would have been denounced as an 
atheist. During the holy wars the Templar-Knights had 
driven a profitable commerce by bringing from Jerusa- 
lem to the Crusading armies bottles of the milk of the 
Blessed Virgin, which they sold for enormous sums ; 
these bottles were preserved with pious care in many of 
the great religious establishments. But perhaps none 
of these impostures surpassed in audacity that offered by 
a monastery in Jerusalem, which presented to the be- 
holder one of the fingers of the Holy Ghost ! Modem 
society has silently rendered its verdict on these scan- 
dalous objects. Though they once nourished the piety 
of thousands of earnest people, they are now considered 
too vile to have a place in any public museum. 

How shall we account for the great failure we thus 
detect in 'the guardianship of the Church over Europe ? 
This is not the result that must have occurred had there 
been in Eome an unremitting care for the spiritual and 
materiaV prosperity of the continent, had the universal 
pastor, the successor of Peter, occupied himself with 
singleness of purpose for the holiness and happiness of 
his flock. 


The explanation is not diflScult to find. It is con- 
tained in a story of sin and shame. I prefer, therefore, 
in the f oUowing paragraphs, to offer explanatory f axjts 
derived from Catholic authors, and, indeed, to present 
them as nearly as I can in the words of those writers. 

The story I am about to relate is a narrative of the 
transformation of a confederacy into an absolute mon- 

In the early times every church, without prejudice 
to its agreement with the Church universal in all essen- 
tial points, managed its own affairs with perfect free- 
dom and independence, maintaining its own traditional 
usages and discipline, all questions not concerning the 
whole Church, or of primary importance, being settled 
on the spot. 

Until the beginning of the ninth century, there was 
no change in the constitution of the Eoman Church. 
But about 845 the Isidorian Decretals were fabricated 
in the west of Gaul — a forgery containing about one 
hundred pretended decrees of the early popes, together 
with certain spurious writings of other church digni- 
taries and acts of synods. This forgery produced an 
immense extension of the papal power, it displaced the 
old system of church government, divesting it of the 
republican attributes it had possessed, and transforming 
it into an absolute monarchy. It brought the bishops 
into subjection to Rome, and made the pontiff the 
supreme judge of the clergy of the whole Christian 
world. It prepared the way for the great attempt, sub- 
sequently made by Hildebrand, to convert the states of 
Europe into a theocratic priest-kingdom, with the pope 
at its head. 

Gregory VII., the author of this great attempt, saw 


that his plans would be best carried out through the 
agency of synods. He, therefore, restricted the right 
of holding them to the popes and their legates. To 
aid in the matter, a new system of church law was 
devised by Anselm of Lucca, partly from the old Isi- 
dorian forgeries, and partly from new inventions. To 
establish the supremacy of Home, not only had a new 
civil and a new canon law to be produced, a new history 
had also to be invented. This furnished needful in- 
stances of the deposition and excommunication of kings, 
and proved that they had always been subordinate to 
the popes. The decretal letters of the popes were put 
on a par with Scripture. At length it came to be re- 
ceived, throughout the West, that the popes had been, 
from the beginning of Christianity, legislators for the 
whole Church. As absolute sovereigns in later times 
cannot endure representative assemblies, so the papacy, 
when it wished to become absolute, found that the 
synods of particular national churches must be put an 
end to, and those only imder the immediate control of 
tlie pontifE permitted. This, in itseK, constituted a 
great revolution. 

Another fiction concocted in Eome in the eighth cen- 
tury led to important consequences. It feigned that 
the Emperor Constantine, in gratitude for his cure from 
leprosy, and baptism by Pope Sylvester, liad bestowed 
Italy and the Western provinces on the pope, and that, 
in token of his subordination, he had served the pope 
as his groom, and led his horse some distance. This 
forgery was intended to work on the Prankish kings, 
to impress them with a correct idea of their inferiority, 
and to show that, in the territorial concessions they 
made to the Church, they were not giving but only re- 
storing what rightfully belonged to it. 


The most potent instrument of the new papal system 
was Qratian's Decoretum, which was issued about the 
middle of the tweKth century. It was a mass of fabrica- 
tions. It made the whole Christian worid, through the 
papacy, the domain of the Italian clergy. It inculcated 
that it is lawful to constrain men to goodness, to torture 
and execute heretics, and to confiscate their property ; 
that to kill an excommunicated person is not murder ; 
that the pope, in his unlimited superiority to all law, 
stands on an equality with the Son of God 1 

As the new system of centralization developed, 
maxims, that in the olden times would have been held to 
be shocking, were boldly avowed — the whole Church 
is the property of the pope to do with as he will ; what 
is simony in others is not simony in him; he is above 
aU law, and can be called to account by none; who- 
ever disobeys him must be put to death ; every bap- 
tized man is his subject, and must for life remain so, 
whether he will or not. Up to the end of the twelfth 
century, the popes were the vicars of Peter ; after Inno- 
cent III. they were the vicars of Christ. 

But an absolute sovereign has need of revenues, and 
to this the popes were no exception. The institution 
of legates was brought in from Hildebrand'S time. 
Sometimes their duty was to visit churches, sometimes 
they were sent on special business, but always invested 
with unlimited powers to bring back money over the 
Alps. And since the pope coidd not only make laws, 
but could suspend their operation, a legislation was in- 
troduced in view to the purchase of dispensations. 
Monasteries were exempted from episcopal jurisdiction 
on payment of a tribute to Eome. The pope had now 
become " the universal bishop ; " he had a concurrent 
jurisdiction in all the dioceses, and could bring any 


cases before his own courts. His relation to the bishops 
was that of an absolute sovereign to his officials. A 
bishop could resign only by his permission, and sees 
vacated by resignation lapsed to him. Appeals to him 
were encouraged in every way for the sake of the 
dispensations; thousands of proisesses came before the 
Curia, bringing a rich harvest to Eome. Often when 
there were disputing claimants to benefices, the pope 
would oust them all, and appoint a creature of his own. 
Often the candidates had to waste years in Eome, and 
either died there, or carried back a vivid impression of 
the dominant corruption. Germany suffered more than 
other countries from these appeals and processes, and 
hence of all countries was best prepared for the Kef- 
ormation. During the thirteenth and fourteenth cen- 
turies the popes made gigantic strides in the acquisition 
of power. Instead of recommending their favorites for 
benefices, now they issued mandates. Their Italian parti- 
sans must be rewarded ; nothing could be done to satisfy 
their clamors, but to provide for them in foreign coun- 
tries. Shoals of contesting claimants died in Rome ; and, 
when death took place in that city, the Pope claimed 
the right of giving away the benefices. At length it 
was affirmed that he had the right of disposing of aU 
church-offices without distinction, and that the oath of 
obedience of a bishop to him implied political as well 
as ecclesiastical subjection. In countries having a dual 
government this increased the power of the spiritual 
element prodigiously. 

Eights of every kind were remorselessly overthrown 
to complete this centralization. In this the mendicant 
orders were most efficient aids. It was the pope and 
those orders on one side, the bishops and the paro- 
chial clergy on the other. The Eoman court had seized 


the rights of synods, metropolitans, bishops, national 
chui*ches. Incessantly interfered with by the legates, 
the bishops lost all desire to discipline their dioceses ; 
incessantly interfered with by the begging monks, the 
parish priest had become powerless in his own Tillage ; 
his pastoral influence was utterly destroyed by the pa- 
pal indulgences and absolutions they sold. The money 
was carried off to Rome. 

Pecuniary necessities urged many of the popes to 
resort to such petty expedients as to require from a 
prince, a bishop, or a grand-master, who had a cause 
pending in the court, a present of a golden cup filled 
with ducats. Such necessities also gave origin to ju- 
bilees. Sixtus IV. established whole colleges, and sold 
the places at three or four hundred ducats. Innocent 
VIII. pawned the papal tiara. Of Leo X. it was said 
that he squandered the revenues of three popes, he 
wasted the savings of his predecessor, he spent his own 
income, he anticipated that of his successor, he created 
twenty-one hundred and fifty new oflSces and sold them ; 
they were considered to be a good investment, as they 
produced twelve per cent. The interest was extorted 
from Catholic countries. Nowhere in Europe could 
capital be so well invested as at Rome. Large sums 
were raised by the foreclosing of mortgages, and not 
only by the sale but the resale of offices. Men were 
promoted, for the purpose of selling their offices again. 

Though against the papal theory, which denounced 
usm'ious practices, an immense papal banking system 
bad sprung up, in connection with the Curia, and sums 
at usurious interest were advanced to prelates, place- 
hunters, and litigants. The papal bankers were privi- 
leged ; all others were* under the ban. The Curia had 
discovered that it was for their interest to have ecclesi- 


astics all over Europe in their debt. They could make 
them pliant, and excommunicate them for non-payment 
of interest. In 1327 it was reckoned that half the 
Christian world was imder excommunication: bishops 
were excommunicated because ihey could not meet the 
extortions of legates ; and persons were excommunicated, 
under various pretenses, to compel them to purchase ab- 
solution at an exorbitant price. The eccliesiastical reve- 
nues of all Europe were flowing into Rome, a sink of 
corruption, simony, usury, bribery, extortion. The 
popes, since 1066, when the great centralizing move- 
ment began, had no time to pay attention, to the inter- 
nal affairs of their own special flock in the city of Eome. 
There were thousands of foreign cases, each bringing in 
money. " Whenever," says the Bishop Alvaro Pelayo, 
" I entered the apartments of the Eoman court clergy, I 
found them occupied in countiug up the gold -coin, 
which lay about the rooms in heaps." Every opportu- 
nity of extending the jurisdiction of the Guria was wel- 
come. Exemptions were so managed that fresh grants 
were constantly necessary. . Bishops were privileged, 
against cathedral chapters, chapters against their bish- 
ops; bishops, convents, and individuals, against the ex- 
tortions of legates. 

The two pillars on which the papal system now rest- 
ed were the College of Cardinals and the Curia. The 
cardinals, in 1059, had become electors of the popes. 
Up to that time elections were made by the whole body 
of the Koman clergy, and the concurrence of the magis- 
tmtes and citizens was necessary. But Nicolas 11. re- 
stricted elections to the College of Cardinals by a two- 
thirds vote, and gave to the German emperor the right 
of confirmation. . For almost two centuries there was a 
struggle for mastery between the cardinal oligarchy and 


papal absolutism. The cardinals were willing enough 
that the pope should be absolute in his foreign rule, but 
they never failed to attempt, before giving him their 
votes, to bind him to accord to them a recognized share 
in the government. After lis election, and before his 
consecration, he swore to observe certain capitulations, 
such as a participation of revenues between himself and 
the cardinals ; an obligation that he would not remove 
them, but would permit them to assemble twice a year 
to discuss whether he had kept his oath. Eepeatedly 
the popes broke their oath. On one side, the cardinals 
wanted a larger share in the church government and 
emoluments ; on the other, the popes refused to surren- 
der revenues or power. The cardinals wanted to be 
conspicuous in pomp and extravagance, and for this vast 
sums were requisite. In one instance, not 'fewer than 
five hundred benefices were held by one of them ; their 
friends and retainers must be supplied, their families 
enriched. It was aflSbrmed that the whole revenues of 
France were insufficient to meet their expenditures. In 
their rivalries it sometimes happened that no pope was 
elected for several years. It seemed as if they wanted 
to show how easily the Church could get on without the 
Vicar of Christ. 

Toward the close of the eleventh century the Ko- 
man Chnrch became the Koman court. In place of the 
Christian sheep gently following their shepherd in the 
holy precincts of the city, there had arisen a chancery of 
writers, notaries, tax-gatherers, where transactions about 
privileges, dispensations, exemptions, were carried on ; 
and suitors went with petitions jfrom door to door. 
Home was a rallying-point for place-hunters of every 
nation. In presence of the enormous mass of business- 
processes, graces, indulgences, absolutions, commands. 


and decisions, addressed to all parts of Europe and Asia, 
the functions of the local church sank into insignifi- 
cance. Several hundred persons, whose home was 
the Curia, were required. Their aim was to rise in it 
by enlarging the profits of the papal treasury. The 
whole Christian world had become tributary to it. 
Here every vestige of religion had disappeared ; its 
members were busy with politics, litigations, and pro- 
cesses ; not a word could be heard about spiritual con- 
cerns. Every stroke of the pen had its price. Bene- 
fices, dispensations, licenses, absolutions, indulgences, 
privileges, were bought and sold like merchandise. The 
suitor had to bribe every one, from the doorkeeper to 
the pope, or his case was lost. Poor men could neither 
attain preferment, nor hope for it ; and the result was, 
that every cleric felt he had a right to follow the exam- 
ple he had seen at Rome, and that he might make profits 
out of his spiritual ministries and sacraments, having 
bought the right to do so at Eome, and having no other 
way to pay o£E his debt. The transference of power 
from Italians to Frenchmen, through the removal of 
the Curia to Avignon, produced no change — only the 
Italians felt that the enrichment of Italian families had 
slipped out of their grasp. They had learned to con- 
sider the papacy as their appanage, and that they, under 
the Christian dispensation, were God's chosen people, 
as the Jews had been under the Mosaic. 

At the end of the thirteenth century a new kingdom 
was discovered, capable of yielding immense revenues. 
This was Purgatory. It was shown that the pope could 
empty it by his indulgences. In this there was no need 
of hypocrisy. Things were done openly. The original 
germ of the apostolic primacy had now expanded into 
a colossal monarchy. 


The Inquisition had made the papal system irre- 
jsistible. All opposition must be punished with death 
by fire. A mere thought, without having betrayed it- 
self by outward sign, was considered as guilt. As time 
went on, this practice of the Inquisition became more 
and more atrocious. Torture was resorted to on mere 
suspicion. The accused was not allowed to know the 
name of his accuser. He was not permitted to have 
any legal adviser. There was no appeal. The Inquisi- 
tion was ordered not to lean to pity. No recantation 
was of avail. The innocent family of the accused was 
deprived of its property by confiscation ; half went to 
the papal treasury, half to- the inquisitors. life only,* 
said Innocent III., was to be left to the sons of misbe- 
lievers, and that merely as an act of mercy. The con- 
sequence was, that popes, such as Nicolas III., enriched 
their families through plunder acquired by this tribunal. 
Inquisitors did the same habitually. 

The struggle between the French and Italians for 
the possession of the papacy inevitably led to the schism 
of the fourteenth century. For more than forty years 
two rival popes were now anathematizing each other, 
two rival Curias were squeezing the nations for money. 
Eventually, there were three obediences, and triple 
revenues to be extorted. Nobody, now, could guarantee 
the validity of the sacraments, for nobody could be sure 
which was the true pope. Men were thus compelled to 
think for themselves. They could not find who was the 
legitimate thinker for them. They began to see that 
the Church must rid herself of the curialistic chains, 
and resort to a General Council. That attempt was 
again and again made, the intention being to raise the 
Council into a Parliament of Christendom, and make 
the pope its chief executive officer. But the vast inter 


ests that had grown out of the corruption of ages could 
not so easily be overcome ; the Curia again recovered its 
ascendency, and ecclesiastical trading was resumed. The 
Germans, who had never been permitted to share in the 
Curia, took the leading part in these attempts at reform. 
As things went on from bad to worse, even they at last 
found out that all hope of reforming the Church by 
means of councils was delusive. Erasmus exclaimed, 
" If Christ does not deliver his people from this multi- 
form ecclesiastical tyranny, the tyranny of the Turk will 
become less intolerable." Cardinals' hats were now- 
sold, and under Leo X. ecclesiastical and religious oflSces 
were actually put up to auction. The maxim of life had 
become, interest first, honor afterward. Among the 
officials, there was not one who could be honest in the 
dark, and virtuous without a witness. The violet-colored 
velvet cloaks and white ermine capes of the cardinals 
were truly a cover for wickedness. 

The unity of the Chm'ch, and therefore its power, re- 
quired the use of Latin as a sacred language. Through 
this, Eome had stood in an attitude strictly European, 
and was enabled to maiatain a general international re- 
lation. It gave her far more power than her asserted 
celestial authority, and, much as she claims to have done, 
she is open to condemnation that, with such a signal ad- 
vantage in her hands, never again to be enjoyed by any 
successor, she did not accomplish much more. Had not 
the sovereign pontife been so completely occupied with 
maintaining their emoluments and temporalities in Italy, 
they might have made the whole continent advance like 
one man. Their officials could pass without difficulty 
into every nation, and communicate without embarrass- 
ment with each other, from Ireland to Bohemia, froai 
Italy to Scotland. The possession of a common tongue 


gave them the administration of international affairs 
with intelligent allies everywhere, speaking the same 

Not without cause was the hatred manifested by 
Eome to the restoration of Greek and introduction of 
Hebrew, and the alarm with which she perceived the 
modem languages forming out of the vulgar dialects. 
Not without reason did the Faculty of Theology in Paris 
reecho the sentiment that was prevalent in the time of 
Ximenes, " What will become of religion if the study of 
Greek and Hebrew be permitted i " The prevalence of 
Latin was the condition of her power ; its deterioration, 
the measure of her decay ; its disuse, the signal of her 
limitation to a little principality in Italy. In fact, the 
development of European languages was the instrument 
of her overthrow. They formed an effectual communica- 
tion between the mendicant friars and the illiterate pop- 
ulace, and there was not one of them that did not dis- 
play in its earliest productions a sovereign contempt for 

The rise of the many-tongued European literature 
was therefore coincident with the decline of papal Chris- 
tianity ; European literature was impossible under Cath- 
olic rule. A grand, a solenm, an imposing religious 
unity enforced the literary unity which is implied in the 
use of a single tongue. 

While thus the possession of a universal language 
so signally secured her power, the real secret of much of 
the influence of the Church lay in the control she had 
so skillfully obtained over domestic life. Her influence 
diminished as that declined. Coincident with this was 
her displacement in the guidance of international rela- 
tions by diplomacy. 

In the old times of Boman domination the encamp- 


ments of the legions in the provinces had always proved 
to be foci of civilization. The industry and order ex- 
hibited in them presented an example not lost on the 
surrounding barbarians of Britain, Gaul, and Germany. 
And, though it was no part of iheir duty to occupy 
themselves actively in the betterment of the conquered 
tribes, but rather to keep them in a depressed condition, 
that aided in maintaining subjection, a steady improve- 
ment both in the individual and social condition took 

Under the ecclesiastical domination of Home similar 
effects occurred. In the open country the monastery 
replaced the legionary encampment ; in the village or 
town, the church was a centre of light. A powerful 
effect was produced by the elegant luxury of the former, 
and by the sacred and solemn monitions of the latter. 

In extoUing the papal system for what it did in the 
organization of the family, the definition of civil policy, 
the construction of the states of Europe, our praise 
must be limited by the recollection that the chief object 
of ecclesiastical policy was the aggrandizement of the 
Church, not the promotion of civilization. The benefit 
obtained by the laity was not through any special inten- 
tion, but incidental or collateral. 

There was no far-reaching, no persistent plan to 
ameliorate the physical condition of the nations. Noth- 
ing was done to favor their intellectual development; 
indeed, on the contrary, it was the settled policy to keep 
them not merely illiterate, but ignorant. Century after 
century passed away, and left the peasantry but little 
better than the cattle in the fields. Intercommunica- 
tion and locomotion, which tend so powerfully to expand 
the ideas, received no encouragement ; the majority of 
men died without ever having ventured out of the 


neigliborliood in which they were born. For them 
there was no hope of personal improvement, none of 
the bettering of their lot ; there were no comprehensive 
schemes for the avoidance of individual want, none for 
the resistance of famines. Pestilences were permitted to 
stalk forth unchecked, or at best opposed only by mum- 
meries. Bad food, wretched clothing, inadequate shel- 
ter, were suffered to produce their result, and at the end 
of a thousand years the population of Europe had not 

If policy may be held accountable as much for the 
births it prevents as for the deaths it occasions, what a 
great responsibility there is here ! 

In this investigation of the influence of Catholicism, 
we must carefully keep separate what it did for the 
people and what it did for itself. When we think of 
the stately monastery, an embodiment of luxury, with 
its closely-mown lawns, its gardens and bowers, its foun- 
tains and many murmuring streams, we must connect it 
not with the ague-stricken peasant dying without help 
in the fens, but with the abbot, his ambling palfrey, 
his hawk and hounds, his weU-stocked cellar and larder. 
He is part of a system that has its centre of authority 
in Italy. To that his allegiance is due. For its behoof 
are aU his acts. When we survey, as stiU we may, the 
magnificent churches and cathedrals of those times, 
miracles of architectural skill— the only real miracles^ 
of Catholicism — ^when in imagination we restore the 
transcendently imposing, the noble services of which they 
were once the scene, the dim, religious light streaming 
in through the many-colored windows, the sounds of 
voices not inferior in their melody to those of heaven, 
the priests in their sacred vestments, and above all the 
prostrate worshipers listening to litanies and prayers in 


a foreign and unknown tongue, shall we not ask our- 
selves, Was all this for the sake of those worshipers, or 
for the glory of the great, the overshadowing authority 
at Borne ? 

But perhaps some one may say, Are there not limits 
to human exertion — things which no political system, 
no human power, no matter how excellent its intention, 
can accomplish ? Men cannot be raised from barbarism, 
a continent cannot be civilized, in a day ! 

The Catholic power is not, however, to be tried by 
any such standard. It scornfully rejected and still re- 
jects a hiunan origin. It claims to be accredited super- 
naturally. The sovereign pontiff is the Vicar of God 
upon earth. Infallible in judgment, it is given to him 
to accomplish aU things by miracle if need* be. He had 
exercised an autocratic tyranny over the intellect of 
Europe for more than a thousand years ; and, though on 
some occasions he had encoimtered the resistances of 
disobedient princes, these, in the aggregate, were of so 
little moment, that the physical, the political power of 
the continent may be aflSrmed to have been at his dis- 

Such facts as have been presented in this chapter 
were, doubtless, well weighed by the Protestant Bef orm- 
ers of the sixteenth century, and brought them to the 
conclusion that Catholicism had altogether failed in its 
mission ; that it had become a vast system of delusion and 
imposture, and that a restoration of true Christianity 
could only be accomplished by returning to the faith 
and practices of the primitive times. ' This was no deci- 
sion suddenly arrived at ; it had long been the opinion of 
many religious and learned men. The pious Fratricelli 
in the middle ages had loudly expressed their belief that 
the fatal gift of a Boman emperor had been the doom 


of true religion. It wanted nothing more than the 
voice of Luther to bring men throughout the north of 
Europe to the determination that the worship of the 
Virgin Mary, the invocation of saints, the working of 
miracles, supernatural cures of the sick, the purchase of 
indulgences for the perpetration of sin, and all other 
evil practices, lucrative to their abettors, which had been 
fastened on Christianity, but which were no part of it, 
should come to an end. Catholicism, as a system for 
promoting the well-being of man, had plainly failed in 
justifying its alleged origin ; its performance had not 
corresponded to its great pretensions ; and, after an op- 
portunity of more than a thousand years' duration, it 
had left the masses of men submitted to its influeiices, 
both as regards physical weil-being and intellectual cult- 
ure, in a condition far lower than what it ought to have 



JUuatration of the general injltiencea of Science from (he history of America, 

The Introduction of Scibnck into Europe. — It passed from Moorish Spain 
to Upper Italy ^ and was favored by the absence of the popes at Avignon, 
•^The effects of printing^ of maritime adventure, and of the Refor^ 
motion, — ^Establishment of the Itdlian scientific societies. 

The Intellectual Influence of Science. — It changed the mode and the 
direction of thought in Europe, — The transactions of the Royal So^ 
defy of London, and other scieniffic societies, fuimish an Ulustraiion 
of this. 

The Economical Influence of Science is illustrated by the numerous me- 
chanical and physical inventions, made since the fourteenth century, — 
Their influence on health and domestic life, on the arts of peace and 
of war, 

Anstoer to the question, What has Science done for humanity f 

Europe, at the epocli of the Keformation, famishes 
us with the result of the influences of Eoman Christian- 
ity in the promotion of civilization. America, examined 
in like manner at the present time, furnishes us with an 
illustration of the influences of science. 

In the course of the seventeenth century a sparse 
European population had settled along the western At- 
lantic coast. Attracted by the cod-fishery of ITewfound- 
land, the French had a little colony north of the St. 
Lawrence; the English, Dutch, and Swedes, occupied 
the shore of New England and the Middle States; some 


Huguenots were Kving in the Carolinas. Kumors of a 
spring that could confer perpetual youth — b. fountain of 
life — ^had brought a few Spaniards into Florida. Be- 
hind the fringe of villages which these adventurers had 
built, lay a vast and unknown country, inhabited by 
wandering Indians, whose numbers from the Gulf of 
Mexico to the St. Lawrence did not exceed one hundred 
and eighty thousand. From them the European stran- 
gers had learned that in those solitary regions there 
were fresh-water seas, and a great river which they 
called the Mississippi. Some said that it flowed through 
Yirginia into the Atlantic, some that it passed through 
Florida, some that it emptied into the Pacific, and some 
that it reached the Gulf of Mexico. Parted from their 
native countries by the stormy Atlantic, to cross which 
implied a voyage of many months, these refugees seemed 
lost to the world. 

But before the close of the nineteenth century the 
descendants of this feeble people had become one of 
the gi'eat powers of the earth. They had established a 
republic whose sway extended from the Atlantic to the 
Pacific. With an army of more than a million men, not 
on paper, but actually in the field, they had overthrown 
a domestic assailant. They had maintained at sea a 
war-fleet of nearly seven hundred ships, carrying five 
thousand guns, some of them the heaviest in the world. 
The tonnage of this navy amounted to half a million. 
In the defence of their national life they had expended 
in less than five years more than four thousand million 
dollars. Their census, periodically taken, showed that 
the population was doubling itself every twenty-five 
years ; it justified the expectation that at the close of 
that century it would number nearly one hundred mill- 
ion souls. 


A silent continent had been changed into a scene of 
industry ; it was full of the din of machinery and the 
restless moving of men. Where there had been an un- 
broken forest, there were hundreds of cities and towns. 
To conmierce were furnished in profusion some of the 
most important staples, as cotton, tobaSco, breadstuflfe. 
The mines yielded incredible quantities of gold, iron, 
coal. Countless churches, colleges, and public schools, 
testified that a moral influence vivified this material ac- 
tivity. Locomotion was effectually provided for. The 
railways exceeded in aggregate length those of all Eu- 
rope combined. In 1873 the aggregate length of the 
European railways was sixty-three thousand three hun- 
dred and sixty miles, that of the American was seventy 
thousand six hundred and fifty miles. One of them, 
built across the continent, connected the Atlantic and 
Pacific Oceans. 

But not alone are these material results worthy of 
notice. Others of a moral and social kind force them- 
selves on our attention.. Four million negro slaves 
had been set free. Legislation, if it inclined to the 
advantage of any class, inclined to that of the poor. 
Its intention was to raise them from poverty, and bet- 
ter their lot. A career was open to talent, and that 
without any restraint. Every thing was possible to in- 
telhgence and industry. Many of the most important 
public offices were filled by men who had risen from 
the humblest walks of life. If there was not social 
equality, as there never can be in rich and prosperous 
communities, there was civil equality, rigorously main- 

It may perhaps be said that much of this material 
prosperity arose from special conditions, such as had 
never occurred in the case of any people before. There* 


was a vast, an open theatre of action, a whole continent 
ready for any who chose to take possession of it. Noth- 
ing more than courage and industry was needed to over- 
come Nature, and to seize the abounding advantages 
she o£Eered. 

But must not men be animated by a great principle 
who successfully transform the primeval solitudes into 
an abode of civilization, who are not dismayed by gloomy 
forests, or rivers, mountains, or frightful deserts, who 
push their conquering way in the course of a century 
across a continent, and hold it in subjection ? Let us 
contrast with this the results of the invasion of Mejico 
and Peru by the Spaniards, who in those countries over- 
threw a wonderful civilization, in many respects superior 
to their own — a civilization that had been accomplished 
without iron and gunpowder— a civilization resting on 
an agriculture that had neither horse, nor ox, nor plough. 
The Spaniards had a clear base to start from, and no 
obstruction whatever in their advance. They ruined all 
that the aboriginal children of America had accom- 
plished. Millions of those nnfortunates were destroyed 
by their cruelty. Nations that for many centuries had 
been living in contentment and prosperity, under in- 
stitutions diown by iheir history to be suitable to them, 
were plunged into anarchy ; the people fell into a bane- 
ful superstition, and a greater part of their landed and 
other property found its way into the possession of the 
Roman Church. 

I have selected the foregoing illustration, drawn 
from Ameritjaii history, in preference to many others 
that might have been taken from European, because 
it furnishes an instance of the operation of the acting 
principle least interfered with by extraneous conditions. 
European political progress is less simple than American. 


Before considering its manner of action, and its re- 
sults, I will briefly relate how the scientific principle 
found an introduction into Europe. 


Not only had the Crusades, for many years, brought 
vast sums to Rome, extorted from the fears or the piety 
of every Christian nation ; they had also increased the 
papal power to a most dangerous extent. In the dual 
governments everywhere prevailing in Europe, the spir- 
itual had obtained the mastery ; the temporal was little 
better than its servant. 

From all quarters, and under all kinds of pretenses, 
streams of money were steadily flowing into Italy. The 
temporal princes found that there were left for thiem in- 
adequate and impoverished revenues. Philip the Fair, 
King of France (a. d. 1300), not only determined to check 
this drain from his dominions, by prohibiting the export 
of gold and silver without his license ; he also resolved 
that the clergy and the ecclesiastical estates should pay 
their share of taxes to him. This brought on a mortal 
contest with the papacy. The king was excommuni- 
cated, and, in retaliation, he accused the pope, Boniface 
Vin., of atheism ; demanding that he should be tried 
by a general council. He sent some trusty persons into 
Italy, who seized Boniface in his palace at Anagni, and 
treated him with so much severity, that in a few days 
he died. The succeeding pontiff, Benedict XI., was 

The French king was determined that the papacy 
should be purified and reformed ; that it should no longer 
be the appanage of a few Italian families, who were 
dexterously transmuting the credulity of Europe into 
coin— that French influence should prevail in it. He 


therefore came to an understandiiig witli the cardinals ; 
a French archbishop was elevated to the pontificate; 
he took the name of Clement V. The papal court was 
removed to Avignon, in France, and Rome was aban- 
doned as the metropolis of Christianity. 

Seventy years elapsed before the papacy was restored 
to the Eternal City (a. d. 1376). The diminution of its 
influence in the peninsula, that had thus occurred, gave 
opportunity for the memorable intellectual movement 
which soon manifested itself in the great commercial 
cities of Upper Italy. Contemporaneously, also, there 
were other propitious events. The result of the Cru- 
sades had shaken the faith of all Christendom. In an 
age when the test of the ordeal of battle was universally 
accepted, those wars had ended in leaving the Holy 
Land in the hands of the Saracens ; the many thousand 
Christian warriors who had returned from them did not 
hesitate to declare that they had found their antagonists 
not such as had. been pictured by the Church, but val- 
iant, courteous, just. Through the gay cities of the 
south of France a love of romantic literature had been 
spreading ; the wandering troubadours had been singing 
their songs — songs far from being restricted to ladye- 
love and feats of war ; often their burden was the awful 
atrocities that -had been perpetrated by papal authority — 
the religious massacres of Languedoc ; often their bur- 
den was the illicit amours of the clergy. From Moor- 
ish Spain the gentle and gallant idea of chivalry had 
been brought, and with it the noble sentiment of " per- 
sonal honor," destined in the course of time to give a 
code of its own to Europe. 

The return of the papacy to Eome was far from 
restoring the influence of the popes over the Italian 
Peninsula. More than two generations had passed away 


since tlieir departure, and, had they come back even in 
their original strength, they conld not have resisted the 
intellectual progress that had been made during their 
absence. The papacy, however, came back not to rule, 
but to be divided against itself, to encounter the Great 
Schism. Out of its dissensions emerged two rival popes ; 
eventually there were three, each pressing his claims 
upon the religious, each cursing his rival. A sentiment 
of indignation soon spread all over Europe, a determi- 
nation that the shameful scenes which were then enact- 
ing should be ended. How could the dogma of a 
Vicar of God upon earth, the dogma of an infalHble 
pope, be sustained in presence of such scandals ? Herein 
lay the cause of that resolution of the ablest ecclesiastics 
of those times (which, alas for Europe 1 could not be car- 
ried into effect), that a general council should be made 
the permanent religious parliament of the whole con- 
tinent, with the pope as its chief executive officer. Had 
that intention been accomplished, there would have been 
at this day no conflict between science and religion; 
the convulsion of the Eef ormation would have been 
avoided ; there would have been no jarring Protestant 
sects. But the Councils of Constance and Basle faUed 
to shake off the Italian yoke, failed to attain that noble 

Catholicism was thus weakening; as its leaden press- 
ure lifted, the intellect of man expanded. The Sara- 
cens had invented the method of making paper from 
linen rags and from cotton. The Yenetians had brought 
from China to Europe the art of printing. The former 
of these inventions was essential to the latter. Hence- 
forth, without the possibility of a check, there was in- 
tellectual intercommunication among all men. 

The invention of printing was a severe blow to 



Catholicism, whicli liad, previously, enjoyed the inap- 
preciable advantage of a monopoly of intercommuni- 
cation. From its central seat, orders could be dissemi- 
nated through all the ecclesiastical ranks, and fulminated 
through the pulpits. This monopoly and the amazing 
power it conferred were destroyed by the press. In 
modem times, the influence of the pulpit has become 
insignificant. The pulpit has been thoroughly sup- 
planted by the newspaper. 

Yet, Catholicism did not yield its ancient advantage 
without a struggle. As soon as the iuevitable tendency 
of the new art was detected, a restraint upon it, under 
the form of a censorship, was attempted. It was made 
necessary to have a permit, in order to print a book. 
For this, it was needful that the work should have been 
read, examined, and approved by the clergy. There 
must be a certificate that it was a godly and orthodox 
book. A bull of excommunication was issued in 1501, 
by Alexander VI., against printers who should publish 
pernicious doctrines. In 1515 the Lateran Council 
ordered that no books should be printed but such as 
had been inspected by the ecclesiastical censors, under 
pain of excommunication and fine ; the censors being 
directed " to take the utmost care that nothing should 
be printed contrary to the orthodox faith." There was 
thus a dread of religious discussion ; a terror lest truth 
should emerge. 

But these frantic struggles of the powers of igno- 
rance were unavailing. Intellectual intercommunica- 
tion among men was secured. It culminated in the 
modem newspaper, which daily gives its contempora- 
neous intelligence from all parts of the world. Heading 
became a conmion occupation. In ancient society that 
art was possessed by comparatively few persons. Mod- 


em society owes some of its most striking characteristics 
to this change. 

Such was the result of bringing into Europe the 
manufacture of paper and the printing-press. In like 
manner the introduction of the mariner's compass was 
followed by imposing material and moral effects. These 
were — ^the discovery of America in consequence of the 
rivalry of the Venetians and Genoese about the India 
trade ; the doubling of Africa by De Gama ; and the 
circunmavigation of the earth by Magellan. With re- 
spect to the last, the grandest of aU human undertakings, 
it is to be remembered that Catholicism had irrevocably 
committed itself to the dogma of a flat earth, with the 
sky as the floor of heaven, and hell in the under-world. 
Some of the Fathers, whose authority was held to be 
paramount, had, as we have previously said, furnished 
philosophical and religious arguments against theglobu 
lar form. The controversy had now suddenly come to 
an end — ^the Church was found to be in error. 

The correction of that geographical error was by no 
means the only important result that followed the three 
great voyages. The spirit of Columbus, De Gama, 
Magellan, diffused itself among all the enterprising men 
of Western Europe. Society had been hitherto living 
under the dogma of " loyalty to the king, obedience to 
the Church." It had therefore been living for others, 
not for itself. The political effect of that dogma had 
culminated in the Crusades. Countless thousands had 
perished in wars that could bring them no reward, and 
of which the result had been conspicuous failure. Ex- 
perience had revealed the fact that the only gainers 
were the pontiffs, cardinals, and other ecclesiastics in 
Rome, and the shipmasters of Yenice. But, when it 
became known that the wealth of Mexico, Peru, and 


India, might be shared by any one who had enterprise 
and courage, the motives that had animated the restless 
populations of Em-ope suddenly changed. The story of 
Cortez and Pizarro found enthusiastic listeners every- 
where. Maritime adventure supplanted religious en- 

K we attempt to isolate the principle that lay at 
the basis of the wonderful social changes that now took 
place, we may recognize it without difficulty. Hereto- 
fore each man had dedicated his services to his supe- 
rior — ^feudal or ecclesiastical ; now he had resolved to 
gather the fruits of his exertions himself. Individual- 
ism was becoming predominant, loyalty was declining 
into a sentiment. We shall now see how it was with 
the Church. 

Individualism rests on the principle tliat a man shall 
be his own master, that he shall have liberty to form 
his own opinions, freedom to carry into effect his re- 
solves. He is, therefore, ever brought into competition 
with his fellow-men. His life is a display of energy. 

To remove the stagnation of centuries from Euro- 
pean life, to vivify suddenly what had hitherto been an 
inert mass, to impart to it individualism, was to bring 
it into conflict with the influences that had been oppress- 
ing it. All through the fourteenth and fifteenth cen- 
turies uneasy stragglings gave a premonition of what 
was coining. In the early part of the sixteenth (1517), 
the battle was joined. Individualism found its embodi- 
ment in a sturdy German monk, and therefore, perhaps 
necessarily, asserted its rights under theological forms. 
There were some preliminary skirmishes about indul- 
gences and other minor matters, but very soon the real 
cause of dispute came plainly into view. Martin Lu- 
ther refused to think as he was ordered to do by his eo- 


clesiastical superiors at Eome ; he asserted that he had 
an maUenable right to interpret the Bible for himself. 

At her first glance, Eome saw nothing in Martin 
Luther but a vulgar, insubordinate, quarrelsome monk. 
Could the Inquisition have laid hold of him, it would 
have speedily disposed of his affeir ; but, as the conflict 
went on, it was discovered that Martin was not standing 
alone. Many thousands of men, as resolute as himself, 
were coming up to his support ; and, while he carried 
on the combat with writings and words, they made good 
his propositions with the sword. 

The vilification which was poured on Luther and 
his doings was so bitter as to be ludicrous. It was de- 
clared that his father was not his mother's husband, but 
an impish incubus, who had deluded her ; that, after ten 
years' struggling with his conscience, he had become an 
atheist; that he denied the immortality of the soul; 
that he had composed hymns in honor of drunkenness, 
a vice to which he was unceasingly addicted ; that he 
blasphemed the Holy Scriptures, and particularly Moses ; 
that he did not believe a word of what he preached; 
that he had called the Epistle of St. James a thing of 
straw; and, above all, that the Eeformation was no 
work of his, but, in reality, was due to a certain astro- 
logical position of the stars. It was, however, a vidgar 
saying among the Eoman ecclesiastics that Erasmus laid 
the egg of the Eeformation, and Luther hatched it. 

Eome at first made the mistake of supposing that 
this was nothing more than a casual outbreak ; she failed 
to discern that it was, in fact, the culmination of an inter- 
nal movement which for two centuries had been going on 
in Europe, and which had been hourly gathering force ; 
that, had there been nothing else, the existence of three 
popes — three obediences — ^would have compelled men to 


think, to deliberate, to condude for themselves. The 
Councils of Constance and Basle taught them that there 
was a higher power than the popes. The long and 
bloody wars that ensued were closed by the Peace of 
Westphalia; and then it was found that Central and 
Northern Europe had cast off the intellectual tyranny 
of Rome, that individualism had carried its point, and 
liad established the right of every man to think for 

But it was impossible that the establishment of this 
right of private judgment should end with the rejection 
of Catholicism. Early in the movement some of the 
most distinguished men, such as Erasmus, who had been 
among its first promoters, abandoned it. They per- 
ceived that many of the Reformers entertained a bit- 
ter dislike of learning, and they were afraid of being 
brought under bigoted caprice. The Protestant party, 
having thus established its existence by dissent and sep- 
aration, must, in its turn, submit to the operation of the 
same principles. A decomposition into many subordi- 
nate sects was inevitable. And these, now that they 
had no longer any thing to fear from their great Italian 
adversary, commenced partisan warfares on each other. 
As, in different countries, first one and then another 
sect rose to power, it stained itself with cruelties perpe- 
trated upon its competitors. The mortal retaliations 
that had ensued, when, in the chances of the times, the 
oppressed got the better of their oppressors, convinced 
the contending sectarians that they must concede to 
their competitors what they claimed for themselves; and 
thus, from their broils and their crimes, the great prin- 
ciple of toleration extricated itself. But toleration is 
only an intermediate stage ; and, as the intellectual de- 
composition of Protestantism keeps going on, that Iran- 


sitional condition will lead to a liiglier and nobler state 
— ^the liope of philosopliy in all past ages of the world — 
a social state in wliich there shall be unfettered freedom 
for thonght. Toleration, except when extorted by fear, 
can only come from those who are capable of entertain- 
ing and respecting other opinions than their own. It 
can therefore only come from philosophy. History 
teaches us only too plainly that fanaticism is stimulated 
by religion, and neutralized or eradicated by philoso- 

The avowed object of the Reformation was, to re- 
move from Christianity the pagan ideas and pagan rites 
engrafted upon it by Constantino and his successors, 
in their attempt to reconcile the Roman Empire to it. 
The Protestants designed to bring it back to its primi- 
tive purity ; and hence, while restoring the ancient doc- 
trines, they cast out of it all such practices as the ado- 
ration of the Virgin Mary and the invocation of saints. 
The Virgin Mary, we are assured by the Evangelists, 
had accepted the duties of married life, and borne to 
her husband several children. In the prevailing idola- 
try, she had ceased to be regarded as the carpenter's 
wife; she had become the queen of heaven, and the 
mother of God. 

The science of the Arabians followed the invading 
track of their literature, which had come into Christen- 
dom by two routes — the south of France, and Sicily. 
Favored by the exile of the popes to Avignon, and by 
the Great Schism, it made good its foothold in Upper 
Italy. The Aristotelian or Inductive philosophy, dad 
in the Saracenic costume that Averroes had given it, 
made many secret and not a few open friends. It found 
many minds eager to receive and able to appreciate it. 
Among these were Leonardo da Vinci, who proclaimed 

DA VINCI. 299 

the fundamental principle tliat experiment and observa- 
tion are the only reliable foundations of reasoning in sci- 
ence, that eirperiment is the only trustworthy interpreter 
of Nature, and is essential to the ascertainment of laws. 
He showed that the action of two perpendicular forces 
upon a point is the same as that denoted by the diagonal 
of a rectangle, of which they represent the sides. From 
this the passage to the proposition of oblique forces was 
very easy. This proposition was rediscovered by Ste- 
vinus, a century later, and applied by him to the ex- 
planation of the mechanical powers. Da Vinci gave a 
clear exposition of the theory of forces applied obliquely 
on a lever, discovered the laws of friction subsequently 
demonstrated by Amontons, and understood the prin- 
ciple of virtual velocities. He treated of the conditions 
of descent of bodies along inclined planes and circular 
arcs, invented the camera-obscura, discussed correctly 
several physiological problems, and foreshadowed some 
of the great conclusions of modem geology, such as the 
nature of fossil remains, and the elevation of continents. 
He explained the earth-light reflected by the moon. 
With surprising versatility of genius he excelled as a 
sculptor, architect, engineer; was thoroughly versed in 
the astronomy, anatomy, and chemistry of his times. 
In painting, he was the rival of Michel Angelo ; in a 
* competition between them, he was considered to have 
established his superiority. His " Last Supper," on the 
wall of the refectory of the Dominican convent of Sta. 
Maiia delle Grazie, is well known, from the numerous 
engravings and copies that have been made of it. 

Once firmly established in the north of Italy, Sci- 
ence soon extended her sway over the entire penin 
sula. The increasing number of her devotees is indi- 
cated by the rise and rapid multiplication of learned 


societies. These were reproductions of the Moorish 
ones that had formerly existed in Granada and Cordova. 
As if to mark by a monxmient the track through which 
civilizing influences had come, the Academy of Tou- 
louse, founded in 1345, has survived to our own times. 
It represented, however, the gay literature of the south 
of France, and was known under the fanciful title of 
" the Academy of Floral Games.'' The first society for 
the promotion of physical science, the Academia Se- 
cretorum Naturae, was founded at Naples, by Baptista 
Porta. It was, as Tiraboschi relates, dissolved by the 
ecclesiastical authorities. The Lyncean was founded by 
Prince Frederic Cesi at Eome ; its device plainly indi- 
cated its intention : a lynx, with its eyes turned upward 
toward heaven, tearing a triple-headed Cerberus with 
its clawfi. The Accademia del Cimento, established at 
Florence, 1657, held its meetings in the ducal palace. 
It lasted ten years, and was then suppressed at the in- 
stance of the papal government ; as an equivalent, the 
brother of the grand-duke was made a cardinal. It 
numbered many great men, such as Torricelli and Gas- 
telli, among its members. The condition of admission 
into it was an abjuration of all faith, and a resolution to 
inquire into the truth. These societies extricated the 
cultivators of science from the isolation in which they 
had hitherto lived, and, by promoting their intercom- 
munication and xmion, imparted activity and strengtli to 
them all. 


Returning now from this digression, this historical 
sketch of the circumstances under which science was in 
troduced into Europe, I pass to the consideration oi 
its manner of action and its results. 



The influence of science on modem civilization lias 
been twofold : 1. Intellectual ; 2. Economical. Under 
these titles we may conveniently consider it. 

Intellectually it overthrew the authority of tradi- 
tion. It refused to accept, unless accompanied by proof, 
the dicta o£ any master, no matter how eminent or 
honored his name. The conditions of admission into 
the Italian Accademia del Cimento, and the motto 
adopted by the Eoyal Society of London, illustrate the 
position it took in this respect. 

It rejected the supernatural and miraculous as evi- 
dence in physical discussions. It abandoned sign-proof 
such as the Jews in old days required, and denied that 
a demonstration can be given through an illustration 
of something else, thus casting aside the logic that had 
been in vogue for many centuries. 

In physical inquiries, its mode of procedure was, to 
test the value of any proposed hypothesis, by executing 
computations in any special case on the basis or prin- 
ciple of that hypothesis, and then, by performing an ex- 
periment or making an observation, to ascertain whether 
the result of these agreed with the result of the com- 
putation. If it did not, the hypothesis was to be re- 

We may here introduce an illustration or two of 
this mode of procedure : 

Newton, suspecting that the influence of the earth's 
attraction, gravity, may extend as far as the moon, and 
be the force that causes her to revolve in her orbit 
round the earth, calculated that, by her motion in her 
orbit, she was deflected from the tangent thirteen feet 
every minute ; but, by ascertaining the space through 
which bodies would fall in one minute at the earth's 
surface, and supposing it to be diminished in the ratio 


of the inverse square, it appeared tliat the attraction at 
the moon's orbit would draw a body through more than 
fifteen feet. He, therefore, for the time, considered 
his hypothesis as nnsustained. But it so happened fiat 
Picard shortly afterward executed more correctly a new 
measurement of a degree ; this changed the estimated 
magnitude of the earth, and the distance of the moon, 
which was measured in earth-semidiameters. Newton 
now renewed his computation, and, as I have related on 
a previous page, as it drew to a close, foreseeing that a 
coincidence was about to be established, was so much 
agitated that he was obliged to ask a friend to complete 
it. The hypothesis was sustained. 

A second instance will sufficiently illustrate the 
method under consideration. It is presented by the 
chemical theory of phlogiston. Stahl, the author of 
this theory, asserted that there is a principle of inflam- 
mability, to which he gave the name phlogiston, having 
the quality of uniting with substances. Thus, when 
what we now term a metallic oxide was united to it, 
a metal was produced; and, if the phlogiston were 
withdrawn, the metal passed back into its earthy or oxi- 
dized state. On this principle, then, the metals were 
compound bodies, earths combined with phlogiston. 

But during the eighteenth century the balance was 
introduced as an instrument of chemical research. Now, 
if the phlogistic hypothesis be true, it would follow that 
a metal should be the heavier, its oxide the hghter body, 
for the former contains something— phlogiston— that 
has been added to the latter. But, on weighing a por- 
tion of any metal, and also the oxide producible from 
it, the latter proves to be the heavier, and here the phlo- 
gistic hypothesis fails. Still further, on continuing the 
investigation, it may be shown that the oxide or calx, af 


it used to be called, lias become beavier by combining 
with one of the ingredients of the air. 

To Lavoisier is usually attributed this test experi- 
ment ; but the fact that the weight of a metal increases 
by calcination was established by earlier European ex- 
perimenters, and, indeed, was well known to the Ara- 
bian chemists. Lavoisier, however, was the first to rec- 
ognize its great importance. In his hands it produced a 
revolution in chemistry. 

The abandonment of the phlogistic theory is an il- 
lustration of the readiness with which scientific hypoth- 
eses are surrendered, when found to be wanting in ac- 
cordance with facts. Authority and tradition pass for 
nothing. Every thiog is settled by an appeal to Nature. 
It is assumed that the answers she gives to a practical 
interrogation will ever be true. 

Comparing now the philosophical principles on which 
SQience was proceeding, with the principles on which 
ecclesiasticism rested, we see that, while the former re- 
pudiated tradition, to the latter it was the main support ; 
while the former insisted on the agreement of calcula- 
tion and observation, or the correspondence of reason- 
ing and fact, the latter leaned upon mysteries ; while 
the former summarily rejected its own theories, if it 
saw that they could not be coordinated with Nature, the 
latter found merit in a faith that blindly accepted the 
inexplicable, a satisfied contemplation of " things above 
reason." The alienation between the two continually 
increased. On one side there was a sentiment of dis- 
dain, on the other a sentiment of hatred. Impartial 
witnesses on all hands perceived that science was rapid 
ly nndennining ecclesiasticism. 

Mathematics had thus become the great instrument 


of scientific research, it had become the instroment 
of scientific reasoning. In one respect it may be said 
that it reduced the operations of the mind to a mediani- 
cal process, for its symbols often saved the labor of 
thinking. The habit of mental exactness it encouraged 
extended to other branches of thought, and produced 
an intellectual revolution. No longer was it possible 
to be satisfied with mirade-proof , or the logic that had 
been relied upon throughout the middle ages. Not 
only did it thus influence the manner of thinking, 
it also changed the direction of thought. Of this we 
may be satisfied by comparing the subjects considered 
in the transactions of the various learned societies with 
the discussions that had occupied the attention of the 
middle ages. 

But the use of mathematics was not limited to the 
verification of theories ; as above indicated, it also fur- 
nished a means of predicting what had hitherto beeji 
unobserved. In this it offered a counterpart to the 
prophecies of ecclesiasticism. The discovery of Nep- 
tune is an instance of the kind furnished by astronomy, 
and that of conical refraction by the optical theory of 

But, while this great instrument led to such a won- 
derful development in natural science, it was itself un- 
dergoing development — ^improvement. Let us in a few 
lines recall its progress. 

The germ of algebra may be discerned in the works 
of Diophantus of Alexandria, who is supposed to have 
lived in the second century of our era. In that Egyp- 
tian school Euclid had formerly collected the great 
truths of geometry, and arranged them in logical se- 
quence. Archimedes, in Syracuse, had attempted tho 
solution of the higher problems by the method of ex 


naustions. Such was the tendency of things that, had 
the patronage of science been continued, algebra would 
inevitably have been invented. 

To the Arabians we o^e our knowledge of the 
rudiments of algebra ; we owe to them the very name 
under which this branch of mathematics passes. They 
had carefully added, to the remains of the Alex- 
andrian School, improvements obtained in India, and 
had communicated to the subject a certain consistency 
and form. The knowledge of algebra, as they pos- 
sessed it, was first brought into Italy about the begin- 
ning of. the thirteenth century. It attracted so lit- 
tle attention, that nearly three hundred years elapsed 
before any European work on the subject appeared. In 
1496 Paccioli published his book entitled "ArteMag- 
giore," or " Alghebra." In 1501, Cardan, of Milan, gave 
a method for the solution of cubic equations ; other im- 
provements were contributed by Scipio Ferreo, 1608, by 
Tartalea, by Vieta. The Germans now took up the 
subject. At this time the notation was in an imperfect 

The publication of the Geometry of Descartes, which 
contains the application of algebra to the definition and 
investigation of curve lines (1637), constitutes an epoch 
in the history of the mathematical sciences. Two years 
previously, Cavalieri's work on Indivisibles had ap- 
peared. This method was improved by Torricelli and 
others. The way was now open for the development 
of the Infinitesimal Calculus, the method of Fluxions of 
Newton, and the Differential and Integral Calculus of 
Leibnitz. Though in his possession many years previ- 
ously, Newton published nothing on Fluxions until 
1704 ; the imperfect notation he employed retarded 
very much the application of his method. Meantime. 


on the Continent, very largely through the brilliant solu- 
tions of some of the higher problems, accomplished by 
the Bemouillis, the Calculus of Leibnitz was univer- 
sally accepted, and improved by many mathematicians. 
An extraordinary development of the science now took 
place, and continued throughout the century. To the 
Einomial theorem, previously discovered by Newton, 
Taylor now added, in his " Method of Increments," the 
celebrated theorem that bears his name. This was in 
1Y16. The Calculus of Partial Differences was intro- 
duced by Euler in 1Y34. It was extended by D'Alem- 
bert, and was followed by that of Variations, by Euler 
and Lagrange, and by the method of Derivative Func- 
tions, by Lagrange, in 1Y72. 

But it was not only in Italy, in Germany, in England, 
in France, that this great movement in mathematics was 
witnessed ; Scotland had added a new gem to the intel- 
lectual diadem with which her brow is encircled, by the 
grand invention of Logarithms, by Napier of Merchis- 
ton. It is impossible to give any adequate conception 
of the scientific importance of this incomparable inven- 
tion. The modem physicist and astronomer wiU most 
cordially agree with Briggs, the Professor of Mathe- 
matics in Gresham CoUege, in his exclamation: "I 
never saw a book that pleased me better, and that made 
me more wonder!" Not witibout reason did the im- 
mortal Kepler regard Napier " to be the greatest man 
of his age, in the department to which he had applied 
his abilities." Napier died in 1617. It is no exag- 
geration to say that this invention, by shortening the 
labors, doubled the life of the astronomer. 

But here I must check myself. I must remember 
that my present purpose is not to give the history of 
mathematics, but to consider what science has done f oi 


the advancement of human civilization. And now, at 
once, recnrs the question, How is it that the Church 
produced no geometer in her autocratic reign of twelve 
hundred years ? 

"With respect to pure mathematics this remark may 
be made: Its cultivation does not demand appliances 
that are beyond the reach of mo^t individuals. Astron- 
omy must have its observatory, chemistry its labora- 
tory; but mathematics asks only personal disposition 
and a few books. No great expenditures are caUed for, 
nor the services of assistants. One would think that 
nothing could be more congenial, nothing more delight- 
ful, even in the retirement of monastic life. 
. ShaU we answer with Eusebius, " It is through con- 
tempt of such useless labor that we think so little of 
these matters ; we turn our souls to the exercise of bet- 
ter things ? " Better things ! What can be better than 
absolute truth ? Are mysteries, miracles, lying impos- 
tures, better ? It was these that stood in the way ! 

The ecclesiastical authorities had recognized, from 
the outset of this scientific invasion, that the principles 
it was disseminating were absolutely irreconcilable with 
the current theology. Directly and indirectly, they 
struggled against it. So great was their detestation of 
experimental science, that they thought they had gained 
a great advantage when the Accademia del Cimento was 
suppressed. Nor was the sentiment restricted to Cathol- 
icism. "When the Eoyal Society of London was found- 
ed, theological odium was directed against it with so 
much rancor that, doubtless, it would have^een extin- 
guished, had not King Charles II. given it his open and 
avowed support. It was accused of an intention of " de- 
stroying the established religion, of injuring the univer- 
sities, and of upsetting ancient and solid learning." 


"We have only to turn over the pages of its Transac- 
tions to discern how mneh this society has done for the 
progress of humanity. It was incorporated in 1662, 
and has interested itself in all the great scientific move- 
ments and discoveries that have since been made. It 
published Newton's " Principia ; " it promoted Halley'a 
voyage, the first scientific expedition undertaken by any 
government; it made experiments on the transfusion 
of blood, and accepted Harvey's discovery of the circn- 
lation. The encouragement it gave to inoculation led 
Queen Caroline to beg six condemned criminals for ex- 
periment, and then to submit her own children to that 
operation. Through its encouragement Bradley accom- 
plished his great discovery, the aberration of the fixed 
stars, and that of the nutation of the earth's axis ; to 
these two discoveries, Delambre says, we owe the exact- 
ness of modem astronomy. It promoted the improve- 
ment of the thermometer, the measure of temperature, 
and in Harrison's watch, the chronometer, the measure 
of time. Through it the Gregorian Calendar was intro- 
duced into England, in 1752, against a violent religious 
opposition. Some of its Fellows were pursued through 
the streets by an ignorant and infuriated mob, who be- 
lieved it had robbed them of eleven days of their lives ; 
it was foxmd necessary to conceal the name of .Father 
"Walmesley, a learned Jesuit, who had taken deep inter- 
est in the matter ; and, Bradley happening to die during 
the commotion, it was declared that he had suffered a 
judgment from Heaven for his crime 1 

If I were to attempt to do justice to the merits of 
this great society, I should have to devote many pages 
to such subjects as the achromatic telescope of DoUond ; 
the dividing engine of Eamsden, which first gave pre- 
cision to astronomical observations; the measurement 


of a degree on the earth's surface bj Mason and Dixon ; 
the expeditions of Cook in connection with the transit 
of Venus ; his circumnavigation of the earth ; his proof 
that scurvy, the curse of long sea-voyages, may be 
avoided by the use of vegetable substances ; the polar 
expeditions; the determination of the density of the 
earth by Maskelyne's experiments at Schehallion, and 
by those of Cavendish ; the discovery of the planet 
Pranus by Herschel ; the composition of water by Cav- 
endish and Watt ; the determination of the difference of 
longitude between London and Paris ; the invention of 
the voltaic pile; the surveys of the heavens by the 
Herschels; the development of the principle of inter- 
ference by Young, and his establishment of the undula- 
tory theory of light ; the ventilation of jails and other 
buildings ; the introduction of gas for city illumination ; 
the ascertainment of the length of the seconds-pendu- 
lum ; the measurement of the variations of gravity in 
different latitudes; the operations to ascertain the cur- 
vature of the earth ; the polar expedition of Koss ; the 
invention of the safety-lamp by Davy, and his decom- 
position of the alkalies and earths ; the electro-magnetic 
discoveries of Oersted and Faraday; the calculating- 
engines of Babbage ; the measures taken at the instance 
of Humboldt for the establishment of many magnetic 
observatories ; the verification of contemporaneous mag- 
netic disturbances over the earth's surface. But it is 
impossible, in the limited space at my disposal, to give 
even so little as a catalogue of its Transactions. Its 
spirit was identical with that which animated the Ao- 
cademia del Cimento, and its motto accordingly was, 
"Nullius in Verba." It proscribed superstition, and 
permitted only calculation, observation, and experi- 


Not for a moment must it be supposed that in these 
great attempts, these great successes, the Eoyal Society 
stood alone. In all the capitals of Europe there were 
Academies, Institutes, or Societies, equal in distinction, 
and equally successful in promoting human knowledge 
and modem civilization. 


The scientific study of Nature tends not only to cor- 
rect and ennoble the intellectual conceptions of man ; 
it serves also to ameliorate his physical condition. It 
perpetually suggests to him the inquiry, how he may 
make, by their economical application, ascertaiaed facts 
subservient to his use. 

The investigation of principles is quickly followed 
by practical inventions. This, indeed, is the character- 
istic feature of our times. It has produced a great revo- 
lution in national policy. 

In former ages wars were made for the procuring 
of slaves. A conqueror transported entire populations, 
and extorted from them forced labor, for it was only by 
human labor that human labor could be relieved. But 
when it was discovered that physical agents and mechan- 
ical combinations could be employed to incomparably 
greater advantage, public policy underwent a change ; 
when it was recognized that the application of a new 
principle, or the invention of a new machine, was better 
than the acquisition of an additional slave, peace be- 
came preferable to war. And not only so, but nations 
]>ossessing great slave or serf populations, as was the 
case in America and Kussia, found that considerations 
of humanity were supported by considerations of inter- 
est, and set their bondmen free. 

Thus we live in a period of which a characteristic is 


the supplanting of hnman and animal labor by machines. 
Its mechanical inventions have wronght a social revo- 
lution. We appeal to the natural, not to the super- 
natural, for the accomplishment of our ends. It is with 
the " modein civilization " thus arising that Catholicism 
refuses to be reconciled. The papacy loudly proclaims 
its inflexible repudiation of this state of a&irs, and 
insists on a restoration of the medieval condition of 

That a piece of amber, when rubbed, will attract 
and then repel light bodies, was a fact known six hun- 
dred years before Christ. It remained an isolated, un- 
cultivated fact, a mere trifle, untU sixteen hundred yeare 
after Christ. Then dealt with by the scientific meiods 
of mathematical discussion and experiment, and practi- 
cal application made of the result, it has permitted men 
to communicate instantaneously with each other across 
continents and under oceans. It has centralized the 
world. By jenabling the sovereign authority to trans- 
mit its mandates without regard to distance or to time, 
it has revolutionized statesmanship and condensed po- 
litical power. 

In the Museum of Alexandria there was a machine 
invented by Hero, the mathematician, a little more than 
one hundred years before Christ. It revolved by the 
agency of steam, and was of the form that we should 
now caU a reaction-engme. This, the germ of one of 
the most important inventions ever made, was remem- 
bered as a mere curiosity for seventeen hundred years. 

Chance had nothing to do with the invention of the 
modem steam-engine. It was the product of medi- 
tation and experiment. In the middle of the seven- 
teenth century several mechanical engineers attempted 
to utilize the properties of steam; their labors were 


brought to perfection by Watt in the middle of the 

The steam-engine quickly became the drudge of 
civilization. It performed the work of many millions 
of men. It gave, to those who vrould have been con- 
demned to a life of brutal toil, the opportunity of better 
pursuits. He who formerly labored might now think. 

Its earliest application was in such operations as 
pumping, wherein mere force is required. Soon, how- 
ever, it vindicated its delicacy of touch in the industrial 
arts of spinning and weaving. It created vast manu- 
facturing establishments, and supplied clothing for the 
world. It changed the industry of nations. 

In its application, first to the navigation of rivers, 
and then to the navigation of the ocean, it more than 
quadrupled the speed that had heretofore been attained. 
Instead of forty days being requisite for the passage, 
the Atlantic might now be crossed in eight. But, in 
land transportation, its power was most strikingly dis- 
played. The admirable invention of the locomotive 
enabled men to travel farther in less than an hour than 
they formerly could have done in more than a day. 

The locomotive has not only enlarged the field of 
human activity, but, by diminishing space, it has in- 
creased the capabilities of human life. In the swift 
transportation of manufactured goods and agricultural 
products, it has become a most efficient incentive to 
human industiy 

The perfection of ocean steam-navigation was 
greatly promoted by the invention of the chronometer, 
which rendered it possible to find with accuracy the 
place of a ship at sea. The great drawback on the ad- 
vancement of science in the Alexandrian School was 
the want of an instrument for the measurement of 


time, and one for the measurement of temperatm^e — 
the chronometer and the thermometer; indeed, the in^ 
vention of the latter is essential to that of the former. 
Clepsydras, or water-clocks, had been tried, but they 
were deficient in accuracy. Of one of them, ornament- 
ed with the signs of the zodiac, and destroyed by cer- 
tain primitive Christians, St. Polycarp significantly re- 
marked, " In iall these monstrous demons is seen an art 
hostile to God." Not until about 1680 did the chro- 
nometer begin to approach accuracy. Hooke, the con- 
temporary of Newton, gave it the balance-wheel, with 
the spiral spring, and various escapements in succession 
were devised, such as the anchor, the dead-beat, the 
duplex, the remontoir. Provisions for the variation of 
temperature were introduced. It was brought to perfec- 
tion eventually by Harrison and Arnold, in their hands 
becoming an accurate measure of the fiight of time. 
To the invention of the chronometer must be added 
that of the reflecting sextant by Godfrey. This per- 
mitted astronomical observations to be made, notwith- 
standing the motion of a ship. 

Improvements in ocean navigation are exercising 
a powerful influence on the distribution of mankind. 
They are increasing the amount and altering the char- 
acter of colonization. 

But not alone have these great discoveries and in- 
ventions, the offspring of scientific investigation, changed 
the lot of the human race ; very many minor ones, per- 
haps individually insignificant, have in their aggregate 
accomplished surprising effects. The commencing cul- 
tivation of science in the fourteenth century gave a 
wonderful stimulus to inventive talent, directed mainly 
to useful practical results ; and this, subsequently, was 
greatly encouraged by the system of patents, which 


Becure to the originator a reasonable portion of the ben- 
efits of his skill. It is sufficient to refer in the most 
cursory manner to a few of these improvements ; we 
appreciate at once how much they have done. The 
introduction of the saw-miU gave wooden floors to 
houses, banishing those of gypsum, tile, or stone ; im- 
provements cheapening the manufacture of glass gave 
\iindows, making possible the warming of apartments. 
However, it was not until the sixteenth century that 
glazing could be well done. The cutting of glass by the 
diamond was then introduced. The addition of chim- 
neys purified the atmosphere of dwellings, smoky and 
sooty as the huts of savages ; it gave that indescribable 
blessing of northern homes — a cheerful fireside. Hith- 
erto a hole in the roof for the escape of the smoke, a pit 
in the midst of the floor to contain the fuel, and to be 
covered with a lid when the curfew-bell sounded or 
night came, such had been the cheerless and inadequate 
means of warming. 

Though not without a bitter resistance on the part 
of the clergy, men began to think that pestilences are 
not punishments inflicted by God on society for its 
religious shortcomings, but the physical consequences 
of filth and wretchedness; that the proper mode of 
avoiding them is not by praying to the saints, but by 
insuring personal and municipal cleanliness. In the 
twelfth century it was found necessary to pave the 
streets of Paris, the stench in them was so dreadf uL 
At once dysenteries and spotted fever diminished ; a 
sanitary condition approaching that of the Moorish cit- 
ies of Spain, which had been paved for centuries, was 
attained. In that now beautiful metropolis it was for- 
bidden to keep swine, an ordinance resented by the 
monks of the abbey of St. Anthony, who demanded that 


the pigs of that saint should go where they chose ; the 
govemment was obliged to compromise the matter by 
requiring that bells should be fastened to the animals' 
necks. King Philip, the son of Louis the Fat, had been 
killed by his horse stumbling over a sow. Prohibitions 
were published against throwing slops out of the win- 
dows. In 1870 an eye-witness, the author of this book, 
at the close of the pontifical rule in Kome, found that, 
in walking the ordure-defiled streets of that city, it was 
more necessary to inspect the earth than to contemplate 
the heavens, in order to preserve personal purity. Until 
the beginning of the seventeenth century, the streets of 
Berlin were never swept. There was a law that every 
countryman, who came to market with a cart, should 
carry back a load of dirt I 

Paving was followed by attempts, often of an imper- 
fect kind, at the construction of drains and sewers. It 
had become obvious to all reflecting men that these 
were necessary to the preservation of health, not only 
in towns, but in isolated houses. Then followed the 
lighting of the public thoroughfares. At first houses 
facing the streets were compelled to have candles or 
lamps in their windows; next the system that had been 
followed with so much advantage in Cordova and Gra- 
nada — of having public lamps — ^was tried, but this was 
not brought to perfection until the present century, 
when lighting by gas was ijivented. Contemporaneous- 
ly with public lamps were improved organizations for 
night-watchmen and police. 

By the sixteenth century, mechanical inventions and 
manufacturing improvements were exercising a conspic- 
uous influence on domestic and social life. There were 
looking-glasses and clocks on the walls, mantels over the 
fireplaces. Though in many districts the kitchen-fire 


was still supplied with turf, the use of coal began to 
prevail. The table in the dining-robm offered new deli- 
cacies ; commerce was bringing to it foreign products ; 
the coarse drinks of the North were supplanted by the 
delicate wines of the South. Ice-houses were con- 
structed. The bolting of flour, introduced at the wind- 
mills, had given whiter and finer bread. By degrees 
things that had been rarities became common — ^Indian- 
corn, the potato, the turkey, and, conspicuous in the 
long list, tobacco. Forks, an Italian invention, displaced 
the filthy use of the fingers. It may be said that the 
diet of civilized men now underwent a radical change. 
Tea came from China, coffee from Arabia, the use of 
sugar from India, and these to no insignificant degree 
supplanted fermented liquors. Carpets replaced on the 
floors the layer of straw ; in the chambers there ap- 
peared better beds, in the wardrobes cleaner and more 
frequently-changed clothing. In many towns the aque- 
duct was substituted for the public fountain and the 
streei-pump. Ceilings which in the old days would 
have been dingy with soot and dirt, were now decorated 
with ornamental frescoes. Baths were more commonly 
resorted to ; there was less need to use perfumery for 
the concealment of personal odors. An increasing taste 
for the innocent pleasures of horticulture was mani- . 
fested, by the introduction of many foreign flowers in 
the gardens — ^the tuberose, the auriculff, the crown im- 
perial, the Persian lily, the ranunculus, and African 
marigolds. In the streets there appeared sedans, then 
close carriages, and at length hackney-coaches. 

Among the dull rustics mechanical improvements 
forced their way, and gradually attained, in the imple- 
ments for ploughing, sowing, mowing, reaping, thraslx- 
ing, the perfection of our own times. 


It began to be recognized, in spite of the preaching 
of the mendicant orders, that poverty is the source of 
crime, the obstruction to knowledge ; that the pursuit of 
riches by commerce is far better than the acquisition 
of power by war. For, though it may be true, as Mon- 
tesquieu says, that, while commerce unites nations, it 
antagonizes individuals, and makes a traffic of morality, 
it alone can give unity to the world ; its dream, its hope, 
is universal peace.- 

Though, instead of a few pages, it would require vol- 
umes to record adequately the ameliorations that took 
place in domestic and social life after science began to 
exert its beneficent influences, and inventive talent came 
to the aid of industry, there are some things which can- 
not be parsed in silence. From the port of Barcelona 
the Spanish khalifs had carried on an enormous com- 
merce, and they with their coadjutors — Jewish merchants 
^ — had adopted or originated many commercial inven- 
tions, which, with matters of pure science, they had 
transmitted to the trading communities of Europe. The 
art of book-keeping by double entry was thus brought 
into Upper Italy. The different kinds of insurance 
were adopted, though strenuously resisted by the clergy. 
They opposed fire and marine insurance, on the ground 
that it is a tempting of Providence. Life insurance 
was regarded as an act of interference with the conse- 
quences of Go3.'s wiU. Houses for lending money on 
interest and on pledges, that is, banking and pawnbrok- 
ing establishments, were bitterly denounced, and espe- 
cially was indignation excited against the taking of high 
rates of interest, which was stigmatized as usury — ^a 
feeling existing in some backward communities up to 
the present day. Bills of exchange in the present form 
and terms were adopted, the office of the public notary 


established, and protests for dishonored obKgations re- 
sorted to. Indeed, it may be said, with but little exag- 
geration, that the commercial machinery now used was 
thus introduced. I have already remarked that, in con- 
sequence of the discovery of America, the front of Eu- 
rope had been changed. Many rich Italian merchants, 
and many enterprising Jews, had settled in Holland, 
England, France, and brought into those countries van- 
ous mercantile devices. The Jews, who cared nothing 
about papal maledictions, were enriched by the pontifi- 
cal action in relation to the lending of money at high 
interest ; but Pius II., perceiving the mistake that had 
been made, withdrew his opposition. Pawnbroking es- 
tablishments were finally authorized by Leo X., who 
threatened excommunication of those who wrote against 
them. In their turn the Protestants now exhibited a 
dislike against establishments thus authorized by Home. 
As the theological dogma, that the plague, like the 
earthquake, is an unavoidable visitation from God for 
the sins of men, began to be doubted, attempts were 
made to resist its progress by the establishment of quar- 
antines. When the Mohammedan discovery of inocu- 
lation was brought from Constantinople in 1721, by 
Lady Mary "Wortley Montagu, it was so strenuously re- 
sisted by the clergy, that nothing short of its adoption 
by the royal family of England brought it into use. A 
similar resistance was exhibited when Jenner introduced 
his great improvement, vaccination ; yet a century ago 
it was the exception to see a face impitted by small- 
pox — ^now it is the exception to see one so disfigured. 
In like manner, when the great American discovery of 
anaesthetics was applied in obstetrical cases, it was dis- 
couraged, not so much for physiological reasons, as un- 
der the pretense that it was an iinpious attempt to escape 


from the curse denounced against all women in Genesis 
iii. 16. 

Inventive ingenuity did not restrict itself to the 
production of useful contrivances, it added amusing 
ones. Soon after the introduction of science into Italy, 
the houses of the virtuosi began to abound in all kinds of 
curious mechanical surprises, and, as they were termed, 
magical effects. In the latter the invention of the 
magic-lantern greatly assisted. Not without reason did 
the ecclesiastics detest experimental philosophy, for a 
result of no little importance ensued — ^the juggler be- 
came a successful rival to the miracle-worker. The 
pious frauds enacted in the churches lost their wonder 
when brought into competition with the tricks of the 
conjurer in the market-place : he breathed flame, walked 
on burning coals, held red-hot iron in his teeth, drew 
basketfuls of eggs out of his mouth, worked miracles 
by marionettes. Yet the old idea of the supernatural 
was with difficulty destroyed. A horse, whose master 
had taught him many tricks, was tried at Lisbon in 1601, 
found guilty of being possessed by the devil, and was 
burnt. StiQ later than that many witches were brought 
to the stake. 

Once fairly introduced, discovery and invention have 
unceasingly advanced at an accelerated pace. Each con- 
tinually reacted on the other, continually they sapped 
Bupematuralism. De Dominis commenced, and New- 
ton completed, the explanation of the rainbow; they 
showed that it was not the weapon of warfare of God, 
but the accident of rays of light in drops of water. De 
Dominis was decoyed to Home through the promise of 
an archbishopric, and the hope of a cardinal's hat. He 
was lodged in a fine residence, but carefuUy watched. 
Accused of having suggested a concord between Home 


and England, he was imprisoned in the castle of St. 
Angelo, and there died. He was brought in his coffin 
before an ecclesiastical tribunal, adjudged guilty of 
heresy, and his body, with a heap of heretical books, Tvas 
cast into the flames. Franklin, by demonstrating the 
identity of lightning and electricity, deprived Jupiter 
of his thunder-bolt. The marvels of superstition were 
displaced by the wonders of truth. The two telescopes, 
the reflector and the achromatic, inventions of the last 
century, permitted man to penetrate into the infinite 
grandeurs of the universe, to recognize, as far as such a 
thing is possible, its illimitable spaces, its measureless 
times ; and a little later the achromatic microscope placed 
before his eyes the world of the infinitely small. The 
air-balloon carried him above the clouds, the diving- 
bell to the bottom of the sea. The thermometer gave 
him true measures of the variations of heat ; the barome- 
ter, of the pressure of the air. The introduction of the 
balance imparted exactness to chemistry, it proved the 
indestructibility of matter. The discovery of oxygen, 
hydrogen, and many other gases, the isolation of alumi- 
num, calcium, and other metals, showed that earth and 
air and water are not elements. With an enterprise 
that can never be too much commended, advantage was 
taken of the transits of Yenus, and, by sending expedi- 
tions to different regions, the distance of the earth from 
the Sim was determined. The step that European intel- 
lect had made between 1456 and 1Y59 was illustrated 
by HaUey's comet. When it appeared in the former 
year, it was considered as the harbinger of the vengeance 
of God, the dispenser of the most dreadful of his retri- 
butions, war, pestilence, famine. By order of the pope, 
all the church-bells in Europe were rung to scare it 
away, the faithful were commanded to add each day 


another prayer ; and, as their prayers had often in so 
marked a manner been answered in eclipses and 
droughts and rains, so on this occasion it was declared 
that a victory over the comet had been vouchsafed to 
the pope. But, in the mean time, Halley, guided by the 
revelations of Kepler and Newton, had discovered that 
its motions, so far from being controlled by the supplica- 
tions of Christendom, were guided in an elliptic orbit 
by destiny. Knowing that Nature had denied to him 
an opportunity of witnessing the fulfillment of his daring 
prophecy, he besought the astronomers of the succeq^- 
ing generation to watch for its return in 1759, and in 
that year it came. 

Whoever will in a spirit of impartiality examine 
what had been done by Catholicism for the intellectual 
and material advancement of Europe, during her long 
reign, and what has been done by science in its brief 
period of action, can, I am persuaded, come to no other 
conclusion than this, that, in instituting a comparison, 
he has established a contrast. And yet, how imperfect, 
how inadequate is the catalogue of facts I have fur- 
nished in the foregoing pages ! I have said nothing of 
the spread of instruction by the diffusion of the arts of 
reading and writing, through public schools, and the 
consequent creation of a reading community ; the modes 
of manuf actilring public opinion by newspapers and re- 
views, the power of journalism, the diffusion of informa- 
tion public and private by the post-oflSce and cheap 
mails, the individual and social advantages of newspaper 
advertisements. I have said Nothing of the establish- 
ment of hospitals, the first exemplar of which was the 
Invalides of Paris ; nolhiiig of the improved prisons, 
reformatories, penitentiaries, asylums, the treatment of 
lunatics, paupers, criminals; nothing of the construction 


of canals, of sanitary engineering, or of census reports ; 
nothing of the invention of stereotyping, bleaching by 
chlorine, the cotton-gin, or of the marvelous contriv- 
ances with which cotton-mills are filled — contrivances 
which have given us cheap clothing, and therefore 
added to cleanliness, comfort, health; nothing of the 
grand advancement of medicine and surgery, or of the 
discoveries in physiology, the cultivation of the fine arts, 
the improvement of agriculture and rural economy, the 
introduction of chemical manures and farm-machinery. 
I have not referred to the manufacture of iron and its 
vast aflSliated industries ; to those of textile fabrics ; to 
the collection of museums of natural history, antiquities, 
curiosities. I have passed unnoticed the great subject of 
the manufacture of machinery by itself — ^the invention 
of the slide-rest, the planing-machine, and many other 
contrivances by which engines can be constructed with 
almost mathematical correctness. I have said nothing 
adequate about the railway system, or the electric tele- 
graph, nor about the calculus, gr lithography, the air- 
pump, or the voltaic battery ; the discovery of TJranus 
or Neptune, and more than a hundred asteroids; the 
relation of meteoric streams to comets ; nothing of the 
expeditions by land and sea that have been sent forth 
by various governments for the determination of im- 
portant astronomical or geographical questions ; nothing 
of the costly and accurate experiments they have caused 
to be made for the ascertainment of fundamental phys- 
ical data. I have been so unjust to our own century 
that I have made no aiilusion to some of its greatest 
scientific triumphs : its grand conceptions in natural 
history ; its discoveries in magnetism and electricity ; 
its invention of the beautiful art of photography ; ita 
applications of spectrum analysis ; its attempts to bring 



chemistry under the three laws of Avogadro, of Boyle 
and Mariotte, and of Charles ; its artificial production 
of organic substances from inorganic material, of which 
the philosophical consequences are of the utmost im- 
portance ; its reconstruction of physiology by laying the 
foundation of that science on chemistry ; its improve- 
ments and advances in topographical surveying, and in 
the correct representation of the surface ojE the globe. 
I have said nothing about rifled-guns and armored ships, 
nor of the revolution that has been made in the art of 
war ; nothing of that gift to women, the sewing-machine ; 
nothing of the noble contentions and triumphs of the arts 
of peace — ^the industrial exhibitions and world's fairs. 

What a catalogue have we here, and yet how imper- 
fect I It gives merely a random glimpse at an ever-in- 
creasing intellectual commotion- — ^a mention of things as 
they casually present themselves to view. How striking 
the contrast between this literary, this scientific activity, 
and the stagnation of the middle ages ! 

The intellectual enlightenment that surrounds this 
activity has imparted unnumbered blessings to the hu- 
man race. In Bussia it has emancipated a vast serf- 
population; in America it has given freedom to four 
million negro slaves. In place of the sparse dole of 
the monastery-gate, it has organized charity and direct- 
ed legislation to the poor. It has shown medicine its 
true function, to prevent rather than to cure disease. 
In statesmanship it has introduced scientific methods, 
displacing random and empirical legislation by a labori- 
ous ascertainment of social facts previous to the appli- 
cation of l^al remedies. So conspicuous, so impressive 
is the manner in which it is elevating men, that the 
hoary nations of Asia seek to participate in the boon. 
Let us not forget that our action on them must be at- 


tended by their reaction on ns. If the destruction of 
paganism was completed when all the gods were brouglit 
to Kome and confronted there, now, when by our won- 
derful facilities of locomotion strange nations and con- 
flicting religions are brought into common presence — 
tlie Mohammedan, the Buddhist, the Brahman — ^modifi- 
cations of them all must ensue. In that conflict science 
alone will stand secure ; for it has given ns grander 
views of the nni verse, more awful views of God. 

The spirit that has imparted life to this movement, 
that has animated these discoveries and inventions, is 
Individualism ; in some minds the hope of gain, in other 
and nobler ones the expectation of honor. It is, then, 
not to be wondered at that this principle found a politi-' 
cal embodiment, and that, during the last centmy, on 
two occasions, it gave rise to social convulsions — ^the 
American and the French Eevolutions. The former has 
ended in the dedication of a continent to Individualisni 
— there, under republican forms, before the close of the 
present century, one hundred million people, with no 
more restraint than their common security requires, will 
be pursuing an unfettered career. The latter, though 
it has modified the political aspect of all Europe, and 
though illustrated by surprising military successes, has, 
thus far, not consummated its intentions; again and 
again it has brought upon France fearful disasters. Her 
dual form of government — ^her allegiance to her two 
sovereigns, the political and the spiritual — ^has made her 
at once the leader and the antagonist of modem prog- 
ress. With one hand she has enthroned Reason, with 
the other she has reestablished and sustained the pope. 
Kor will this anomaly in her conduct cease until she be- 
stows a true education on all her children, even on those 
of the humblest rustic. 


The. intellectual attack made on existing opinions by 
the French Revolution was not of a scientific, but of a 
literary character ; it was critical and aggressive. But 
Science has never been an aggressor. She has always 
acted on the defensive, and left to her antagonist the 
making of wanton attacks. Nevertheless, literary dis- 
sent is not of such ominous import as scientific ; for lit- 
erature is, in its nature, local — science is cosmopolitan. 

If, now, we demand. What has science done for the 
promotion of modem civilization ; what has it done for 
the happiness, the well-being of society ? we shall find 
our answer in the same manner that we reached a just 
estimate of what Latin Christianity had done. The read- 
er of the foregoing paragraphs would undoubtedly infer 
that there must have been an amelioration in the lot of 
our race ; but, when we apply the touchstone of statis- 
tics, that inference gathers precision. Systems of phi- 
losophy and forms of religion find a -measure of their 
infiuence on humanity in census-returns. Latin Chris- 
tianity, in a thousand years, could not double the popu- 
lation of Europe ; it did not add perceptibly to the term 
of individual life. But, as Dr. Jarvis, in his report to 
the Massachusetts Board of Health, has stated, at the 
epoch of the Eeformation "the average longevity in 
Geneva was 21.21 years ; between 1814 and 1833 it was 
40.68 ; as large a number of persons now live to seventy 
years as lived to forty, three hundred years ago. In 
1693 the British Government borrowed money by sell- 
ing annuities on lives from infancy upward, on the ba- 
sis of the average longevity. .The contract was profit- 
able. Ninety-seven years later another tontine, or scale 
of annuities, on the basis of the same expectation of life 
as in the previous century, was issued. These latter an 
nuitants, however, lived so much longer than their pre- 


decossors, that it proved to be a very costly loan for the 
government. It was found that, while ten thousand of 
each sex in the first tontine died under the age of 
twenty-eight, only five thousand seven hundred and 
seventy-two males and six thousand four hundred and 
sixteen females in the second tontine died at the same 
age, one hundred years later." 

We have been comparing the spiritual with the prac- 
tical, the imaginary with the real. The maxims that 
have been followed in the earlier and the later period 
produced their inevitable result. In the former that 
maxim was, "Ignorance is the mother of Devotion;'' 
in the latter, "ELUowledge is Power." 



Indication* of the approach of a reUffious crista, — The predominatififf 
Christian Churchy the Roman^ perceives ihiSy and maJees preparation 
for it, — Hits IX, convokes an (Ecumenical CottncU. — Relations of the 
different European governments to the papacy. — RelcUions of the 
Church to Science^ as indicated by the Encyclical Letter and the Syl- 

Acts of the Vatican CottncU in relation to the infallibility oftliepope^ and 
to Science. — Abstract of decisions arrived at. 

Controversy between the Prussian Oovemment and ihe papacy. — It is a con- 
test bettoeen the State and the Church for supremacy, — Effect of dual 
government in Europe, — Declaration by ihe Vatican Council of Us 
position as to Sdenee, — The dogmaHe constitution of the CaihoUe faith. 
— Its definitions respecting God, Revelation^ Faith, Reason, — The 
anathemas it pronounces. — Its denunciation of modem civilization. 

The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and its acts. 

General review of the foregoing definitions and acts, — Present condition of 
ihe controversy, and its future prospects, 

No one who is acquainted with the present tone of 
thought in Christendom can hide from himself the fact 
that an intellectual, a religious crisis is impending. 

In all durections w^ see the lowering skies, we hear 
the mutterings of the coming storm. In Germany, the 
national party is arraying itself against tlie ultramon- 
tane; in France, the men of progress are struggling 
against the unprogressive, and in their contest the po- 
litical supremacy of that great country is wellnigh neu- 


tralized or lost In Italy, Kome has passed into tlie hands 
of an excommunicated king. The sovereign pontiff, 
feigning that he is a prisoner, is fulminating from the 
Yatican his anathemas, and, in the midst of the most 
convincing proofs of his manifold errors, asserting his 
own inf aUibility. A Catholic archbishop with truth de- 
clares that the whole civil society of Europe seems to be 
withdrawing itself in its public life from Christianity. 
In England and America, religious persons perceive 
with dismay that the intellectual basis of faith has been 
undermined by the spirit of the age. They prepare for 
the approaching disaster in the best m'anner they can. 

The most serious trial through which society can 
pass is encountered in the exuviation of its religious 
restraints. The history of Greece and the history of 
Rome exhibit to us in an impressive manner how great 
are the perils. But it is not given to religions to en- 
dure forever. They necessarily undergo transformation 
with the intellectual development of man. How many 
countries are there professing the same religion now 
that they did at the birth of Christ ? 

It is estimated that the entire population of Europe 
is about three hundred and one million. Of these, one 
hundred and eighty-five million are Roman Catholics, 
thirty-three million are Greek CathoKcs. Of Protes- 
tants there are seventy-one million, separated into many 
sects. Of Jews, five million ; of Mohammedans, seven 

Of the religious subdivisions of America an accurate 
numerical statement cannot be given. The whole of 
Christian South America is Roman Catholic, the same 
may be said of Central America and of Mexico, as also 
of the Spanish and French West India possessions. In 
the United States and Canada the Protestant population 


predominates. To Australia the same remark applies. 
In India the sparse Christian population sinks into in- 
significance in presence of two hundred million Mo- 
hammedans and other Oriental denominations. The 
Boman Catholic Church is the most widely diffused and 
the most powerfully organized of all modem societies. 
It is far more a political than a religious combination. 
Its principle is that all power is in the clergy, and that 
for laymen there is only the privilege of obedience. 
The republican forms under which the Churches existed 
in primitive Christianity have gradually merged into an 
absolute centralization, with a man as vice-God at its 
head. This Church asserts that the divine commission 
imder which it acts comprises civil government ; that it 
has a right to use the state for its own purposes, but 
that the state has no right to intermeddle with it ; that 
even in Protestant countries it is not merely a coordi- 
nate government, but the sovereign power. It insists 
that the state has no rights over any thing which it de- 
clares to be in its domain, and that Protestantism, being 
a mere rebellion, has no rights at all ; that even in Prot- 
estant communities the Catholic bishop is the only law- 
ful spiritual pastor. 

It is plain, therefore, that of professing Christians 
the vast majority are Catholic ; and such is the authori- 
tative demand of the papacy for supremacy, that, in any 
survey of the present religious condition of Christendom, 
regard must be mainly had to its acts. Its movements are 
guided by the highest intelligence and skill. Catholicism 
obeys the orders of one man, and has therefore a unity, 
a compactness, a power, which Protestant denominations 
do not possess. Moreover, it derives inestimable strength 
from the souvenirs of the great name of Kome. 

Unembarrassed by any hesitating sentiment, the 


papacy has contemplated the coming intellectual crisis. 
It has pronomiced its decision, and occupied what seems 
to it to be the most advantageous ground. 

This definition of position we find in the acts of the 
late Yatican CoundL 

Pius IX., by a bull dated June 29, 1868, convoked 
an (Ecumenical Council, to meet in Home, on December 
8, 1869. Its sessions ended in July, 18Y0. Among other 
matters submitted to its consideration, two stand forth 
in conspicuous prominence — they are the assertion of 
the infallibility of the Roman pontiff, and the defini- 
tion of the relations of religion to science. 

But the convocation of the Council was far from 
meeting with general approval. 

The views of the Oriental Churches were, for the 
most part, unfavorable. They affirmed that they saw 
a desire in the Boman pontiff to set himself up as tlie 
head of Christianity, whereas they recognized the Lord 
Jesus Christ alone as the head of the Church. They 
believed that the Council would only lead to new quar- 
rels and scandals. The sentiment of these venerable 
Churches is weU shown by the incident that, when, in 
1867, the Nestorian Patriarch Simeon had been invited 
by the Chaldean Patriarch to return to Eoman Catholic 
unity, he, in his reply, showed that there was no pros- 
pect for harmonious action between the East and the 
"West : " Tou invite me to kiss humbly the slipper of 
the Bishop of Rome ; but is he not, in every respect, a 
man like yourself — ^is his dignity superior to yours? 
We will never permit to be introduced into our holy 
temples of worship images and statues, which are noth- 
ing but abominable and impure idols. What ! shall we 
attribute to Almighty God a mother, as you dare to do ? 
Away from us, such blasphemy ! " 


Eventually, the patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, 
from all regions of the world, who took part in this 
Council, were seven hundred and four. 

Rome had seen very plainly that Science was not 
only rapidly undermining the dogmas of the papacy, but 
was gathering great political power. She recognized 
that aU over Europe there was a fast-spreading seces- 
sion among persons of education, and that its true focus 
was North Germany. 

She looked, therefore, with deep interest on the 
Prusso-Austrian "War, giving to Austria whatever en- 
couragement she could. The battle of Sadowa was a 
bitter disappointment to her. 

"With satisfaction again she looked upon the break- 
ing out of the FrancorPrussian War, not doubting that 
its issue would be favorable to France, and therefore 
favorable to her. Here, again, she was doomed to dis- 
appointment at Sedan. 

Having now no further hope, for many years to 
come, from external war, she resolved to see what could 
be done by internal insurrection, and the present move- 
ment in the German Empire is the result of her machi- 

Had Austria or had France succeeded. Protestant- 
ism would have been overthrown along with Prussia. 

But, while these military movements were being 
carried on, a movement of a different, an intellectual 
kind, was engaged in. Its principle was, to restore the 
worn-out mediaeval doctrines and practices, carrying 
them to an extreme, no matter what the consequences 
might be. 

Not only was it asserted that the papacy has a di- 
vine right to participate in the government of all coun- 
tries, coordinately with their temporal authorities, but 


that the supremacy of Kome in this matter mnst be 
recognized ; and that in any question between them the 
temporal authority must conform itself to her order. 

And, since the endangering of her position had been 
mainly brought about by the progress of science, she 
presumed to define its boimdaries, and prescribe limits 
to its authority. Still more, she undertook to denounce 
modem civilization. 

These measures were contemplated soon after the 
return of his Holiness from Gaeta in 184:8, and were 
imdertaken by the advice of the Jesuits, who, lingering 
in the hope that God would work the impossible, sup- 
posed that the papacy, in its old age, might be rein- 
vigorated. The organ of the Curia proclaimed the ab- 
solute independence of the Church as regards the state ; 
the dependence of the bishops on the pope ; of the dio- 
cesan clergy on the bishops ; the obligation of the Prot- 
estants to abandon their atheism, and return to the fold ; 
the absolute condemnation of all kinds of toleration. In 
December, 1854, in an assembly of bishops, the pope 
had proclaimed the dogma of the immaculate concep- 
tion. Ten years subsequently he put forth the cele- 
brated Encyclical Letter and the Syllabus. 

The Encyclical Letter is dated December 8, 1864. 
It was drawn up by learned ecclesiastics, and subse- 
quently debated at the Congregation of the Holy Office, 
then forwarded to prelates, and finally gone over by the 
pope and cardinals. 

Many of the clergy objected to its condemnation of 
modem civilization. Some of the cardinals were re- 
luctant to concur in it. The Catholic press accepted 
it, not, however, without misgivings and regrets. The 
Protestant governments put no obstacle in its way ; the 
Catholic were embarrassed by it. France allowed the 


publication only of that portion proclaiming the jubilee ; 
Austria and Italy permitted its introduction, but with- 
held their approval. The political press and legislatures 
of Catholic countries gkve it an unfavorable reception. 
Many deplored it as likely to widen the breach be- 
tween the Church and modem society. The Italian 
press regarded it as determining a war, without truce or 
armistice, between the papacy and modem civilization. 
Even in Spain there were journals that regretted " the 
obstinacy and blindness of the court of Home, in brand- 
ing and condemning modem civilization." 

It denounces that " most pernicious and insane opin- 
ion, that liberty of conscience and of worship is the 
right of every man, and that this right ought, in every 
well-governed state, to be proclaimed and asserted by 
law ; and that the will of the people, manifested by 
public opinion (as it is called), or by other means, con- 
stitutes a supreme law, independent of all divine and 
human rights." It denies the right of parents to edu- 
cate their children outside the Catholic Church. It de- 
nounces "the impudence" of those who presume to sub- 
ordinate the authority of the Church and of the Apostolic 
See, " conferred upon it by Christ our Lord, to the judg- 
ment of the civil authority." His Holiness commends, 
to the venerable brothers to whom the Encyclical is ad- 
dressed, incessant prayer, and, " in order that God may 
accede the more easily to our and your prayers, let us 
employ in all confidence, as our mediatrix with him, the 
Virgin Mary, mother of God, who sits as a queen upon 
the right hand of her only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus 
Christ, in a golden vestment, clothed around with vari- 
ous adornments. There is nothing she cannot obtain 
from him." 

Plainly, the principle now avowed by the papacy . 


must bring it into collision even with govemmenta 
which had heretofore maintained amicable relations 
with it. Gi'eat dissatisfaction was manifested by Rus- 
sia, and the incidents that ensued drew forth from his 
Holiness an allocution (November, 1866) condemnatory 
of the course of that government. To this, Bussia re- 
plied, by declaring the Concordat of 1867 abrogated. 

Undeterred by the result of the battle of Sadowa 
(July, 1866), though it was plain that the political con- 
dition of Europe was now profoundly affected, and es- 
pecially the relations of the papacy, tiie pope delivered 
an allocution (June 27, 1867), confirming the Encyclical 
and Syllabus. He announced his intention of convok- 
ing an (Ecumenical Council. 

Accordingly, as we have already mentioned, in the 
following year (June 29, 1868), a bull was issued con- 
voking that Council. Misunderstandings, however, had 
now spnmg up with Austria. The Austrian Eeichsrath 
had adopted laws introducing equality of civil rights 
for all the inhabitants of the empire, and restricting the 
influence of the Church. This produced on the part of 
the papal government an expostulation. Acting as Rus- 
sia had done, the Austrian Government found it neces- 
sary to abrogate the Concordat of 1856. 

In France, as above stated, the publication of the 
entire Syllabus was not permitted; but Prussia, de- 
sirous of keeping on good terms with the papacy, did 
not disallow it. The exacting disposition of the papacy 
increased. It was openly declared that the faithful 
must now sacrifice to the Church, property, life, and 
even their intellectual convictions. The Protestants 
and the Greeks were invited to tender their submission. 

On the appointed day, the Council opened. Its ob- 
jects were, to translate the Syllabus into practice, to 


establish the dogma of papal infallibility, and define 
the relations of religion to science. Every preparation 
had been made that the points determined on should 
be carried. The bishops were informed that they were 
coming to Eome not to deliberate, but to sanction de- 
crees previously made by aa infallible pope. IsT o idea 
was entertained of any such thing as free discussion. 
The minutes of the meetings were not permitted to be 
inspected; the prelates of the opposition were hardly 
allowed to speak. On January 22, 1870, a petition, re- 
questing that the infallibility of the pope should be 
defined, was presented ; an opposition petition of the 
minority was offered. Hereupon, the deliberations of 
the minority were forbidden, and their publications pro- 
hibited. And, though the Curia had provided a com- 
pact majority, it was found expedient to issue an order 
that to carry any proposition it was not necessary that 
the vote should be near unanimity, a simple majority 
sufficed. The remonstrances of the minority were al- 
together unheeded. 

As the Council pressed forward to its object, foreign 
authorities became alarmed at its reckless determination. 
A petition drawn up by the Archbishop of Vienna, and 
signed by several cardinals and archbishops, entreated 
his Holiness not to submit the dogma of infallibility for 
consideration, "because the Church has to sustain at 
present a struggle imknown in former times, against 
men who oppose religion itself as au institution baneful 
to human nature, and that it is inopportune to impose 
upon Catholic nations, led into temptation by so many 
machinations, more dogmas than the Council of Trent 
proclaimed." It added that " the definition demanded 
would furnish fresh arms to the enemies of religion, to 
excite against the Catholic Church the resentment of 


men avowedly the best.'' The Austrian prime-ministei 
addressed a protest to the papal government, warning 
it against any steps that might lead to encroachments 
on the rights of Austria. The French Government 
also addressed a note, suggesting that a French bishop 
should explain to the Council the condition and the 
rights of France. To this the papal government replied 
that a bishop could not reconcile the double duties of 
an ambassador and a Father of the Council. Hereupon, 
the French Government, in a very respectful note, re- 
marked that, to prevent ultra opinions from becoming 
dogmas, it reckoned on the moderation of the bishops, 
and the prudence of the Holy Father ; and, to defend 
its civil and political laws against the encroachments of 
the theocracy, it had counted on public reason and the 
patriotism of French Catholics. In these remonstrances 
the North-German Confederation joined, seriously press- 
ing them on the consideration of the papal govern- 

On April 23d, Von Amim, the Prussian embassa- 
dor, united with Daru, the French minister, in sug- 
gesting to the Curia the inexpediency of reviving me- 
difleval ideas. The minority bishops, thus encouraged, 
demanded now that the relations of the spiritual to the 
secular power should be determined before the pope's 
infallibility was discussed, and that it should be settled 
whether Christ had conferred on St. Peter and his suc- 
cessors a power over kings and emperors. 

No regard was paid to this, not even delay was con- 
sented to. The Jesuits, who were at the bottom of the 
movement, carried their measures through the packed 
assembly with a high hand. Tte Council omitted no 
device to screen itself from popular criticism. Its pro- 
ceedings were conducted with the utmost secrecy ; all 


who took part in them were bound by a solemn oath 
to observe silence. 

On July 13th, the votes were taken. Of 601 votes, 
451 were aflSrmative. Under the majority rule, the 
measure was pronounced carried, and, five days subse- 
quently, the pope proclaimed the dogma of his infalli- 
bility. It has often been remairked that this was the 
day on which the French declared war against Prussia. 
Eiglit days afterward the French troops were withdrawn 
from Eome. Perhaps both the statesman and the phi- 
losopher will admit that an infallible pope would be a 
great harmonizing element, if only common-sense could 
acknowledge him. 

Hereupon, the King of Italy addressed an autograph 
letter to the pope, setting forth in very respectful terms 
the necessity that his troops should advance and occupy 
positions " indispensable to the security of his Holiness, 
and the maintenance of order ; '' that, while satisfying the 
national aspirations, the chief of Catholicity, surrounded 
by the devotion of the Italian populations, " might pre- 
serve on the banks of the Tiber a glorious seat, inde- 
pendent of all human sovereignty." 

To this his Holiness replied in a brief and caustic 
letter : " I give thanks to God, who has permitted your 
majesty to fill the last days of my life with bitterness. 
For the rest, I cannot grant certain requests, nor conform 
with certain principles contained in your letter. Again, 
I caU upon God, and into his hands commit my cause, 
which is his cause. I pray God to grant your majesty 
many graces, to free you from dangers, and to dispense 
to you his mercy which you so much need." 

The Italian troops met with but little resistance. 
They occupied Rome on September 20, 1870. A mani- 
festo was issued, setting forth the details of a plebisci- 


turn, the vote to be by ballot, the question, " the unifi 
cation of Italy." Its result showed how completely the 
popular mind in Italy is emancipated from theology. 
In the Koman provinces the number of votes on the 
lists was 167,548 ; the number who voted, 135,291 i the 
number who voted for annexation, 133,681 ; the num- 
ber who voted against it, 1,507 ; votes annulled, 103. 
The Parliament of Italy ratified the vote of the Koman 
people for annexation by a vote of 239 to 20. A royal 
decree now announced the annexation of the Papal 
States to the kingdom of Italy, and a manifesto was is- 
sued indicating the details of* the arrangement. It de- 
clared that " by these concessions the Italian Govern- 
ment seeks to prove to Europe that Italy respects the 
sovereignty of the pope in conformity with the prin- 
ciple of a free Church in a free state." 

In the Prusso-Austrian "War it had been the hope of 
the papacy to restore the German Empire under Austria, 
and make Germany a Catholic nation. In the Franco- 
German War the French expected ultramontane sym- 
pathies in Germany. No means were spared to excite 
Catholic sentiment against the Protestants. No vilifi- 
cation was spared. They were spoken of as atheists ; 
they were declared incapable of being honest men ; their 
sects were pointed out as indicating that their secession 
was in a state of dissolution. " The followers of Luther 
are the most abandoned men in all Europe.^' Even tlie 
pope himself, presuming that the whole world had for- 
gotten all history, did not hesitate to say, " Let the Ger- 
man people understand that no other Church but tliat 
of Eome is the Church of freedom and progress.'' 

Meantime, among the clergy of Germany a party 
was organized to remonstrate against, and even resist, 
the papal usurpation. It protested against " a man be- 


ing placed on the throne of God," against a vice-God of 
any kind, nor would it yield its scientific convictions 
to ecclesiastical authority. Some did not hesitate to 
accuse the pope himseK of being a heretic. Against 
these insubordinates excommunications began to be ful- 
minated, and at length it was demanded that certain 
professors and teachers should be removed from their 
offices, and inf allibUists substituted. "With this demand 
the Prussian Government declined to comply. 

The Prussian Government had earnestly desired to 
remain on amicable terms with the papacy ; it had no 
wish to entef on a theological quarrel ; but gradually 
the conviction was forced upon it that the question was 
not a religious but a political one — ^whether the power 
of the state should be used against the state. A teacher 
in a gymnasium had been excommunicated ; the gov- 
ernment, on being required to dismiss him, refused. 
The Church authorities denounced this as' an attack 
upon faith. The emperor sustaiaed his minister. The 
organ of the infallible party threatened the emperor 
with the opposition of all good Catholics, and told him 
that, in a contention with the pope, systems of govern- 
ment can and must change. It was now plain to every 
one that the question had become, " Who is to be mas- 
ter in the state, the government or the Eoman Church? 
It is plainly impossible for men to live under two gov- 
ernments, one of which declares to be wrong what the 
other commands. If the government wiU not submit to 
the Eoman Church, the two are enemies." A conflict 
was thus forced upon Prussia by Eome — a conflict in 
which the latter, impelled by her antagonism to modem 
civilization, is clearly, the aggressor. 

The government, now recognizing its antagonist, 
defended itself by abolishing the Catholic department 


in the ministry of Public "Worship. This was about 
midsummer, 1871. In the following November the 
Imperial Parliament passed a law that ecdesiastics abus- 
ing their office, to the disturbance of the public peace, 
should be criminally punished. And, guided by the 
principle that the future belongs to him to whom the 
school belongs, a movement arose for the purpose of 
separating the schools from the Church. 

The Jesuit party was extending and strengthening 
an organization all over Germany, based on the'princi- 
ple that state legislation in ecclesiastical matters is not 
binding. Here was an act of open insurrection. Could 
the government allow itself to be intimidated ? The 
Bishop of Ermeland declared that he would not obey 
the laws of the state if they touched the Church. The 
government stopped the payment of his salary ; and, 
perceiving that there could be no peace so long as the 
Jesuits were permitted to remain in the country, their 
expulsion was resolved on, and carried into effect. At 
the close of 1872 his Holiness delivered an allocution, 
in which he touched on the " persecution o£ the Church 
in the German Empire," and asserted that the Church 
alone has a right to fix the limits between its domain 
and that of the state — a dangerous and inadmissible 
principle, since under the term morals the Church com- 
prises all the relations of men to each other, and asserts 
that whatever does not assist her oppresses her* Here- 
upon, a few days subsequently (January 9, 1873), four 
laws were brought forward by the government: 1. 
Regulating the means by which a person might sever his 
connection with the Church; 2. Eestricting the Church 
in the exercise of ecclesiastical punishments ; 3. Eegu- 
lating the ecclesiastical power of discipline, forbidding 
bodily chastisement, regulating fines and banishments- 


granting the privilege of an appeal to the Eoyal Court 
of Juatiee for Ecclesiastical Affairs, the decision of which 
is final; 4. Ordaining the preliminary education and 
appointment of priests. They must have had a satis- 
factory education, passed a public examination con- 
ducted by the state, and have a knowledge of philoso- 
phy, history, and German literature. Institutions refus- 
ing to be superintended by the state are to be closed. 

These laws demonstrate that Germany is resolved 
that she will no longer be dictated to nor embarrassed 
by a few Italian noble families ; that she will be master 
of her own house. She sees in the conflict, not an affair 
of religion or of conscience, but a struggle between the 
sovereignty of state legislation and the sovereignty of 
the Church. She treats the papacy not in the aspect of 
a religious, but of a political power, and is resolved 
that the declaration of the Prussian Constitution shall be 
maintained, that " the exercise of religious freedom must 
not interfere with the duties of a citizen toward the 
community and the state.'' 

With truth it is affirmed that the papacy is admin- 
istered not oecumenically, not as a imiversal Church, for 
all the nations, but for the benefit of some Italian fam- 
ilies. Look at its composition! It consists of pope, 
cardinal bishops, cardinal deacons, who at the present 
moment are all Italians; cardinal priests, nearly all 
Italians ; ministers and secretaries of the Sacred Con- 
gregation in Kome, all Italians. France has not given a 
pope since the middle ages. It is the same' with Aus- 
tria, Portugal, Spain. In spite of all attempts to change 
this system of exclusion, to open the dignities of the 
Church to all Catholicism, no foreigner can reach the 
holy chair. It is recognized that the Church is a do- 
main given by God to the princely Italian families. 


Of fifty-five members of the present College of Cardi- 
nals, forty are Italians — that is, thirty-two beyond their 
proper share. 

The stumbling-block to the progress of Europe has 
been its dual system of government. So long as every 
nation had two sovereigns, a temporal one at home and 
a spiritual one in a foreign land — there being diflEer- 
ent temporal masters in different nations, but only one 
foreign master for all, -the pontiff at Kome — ^how was 
it possible that history should present us with any thing 
more than a narrative of the strifes of these rival powers ? 
Whoever will refiect on this state of things will see how 
it is that those, nations which have shaken off the dual 
form of government are those which have made the 
greatest advance. He will discern what is the cause 
of the paralysis which has befallen France. On one 
hand she wishes to be the leader of Europe, on the other 
she clings to a dead past. For the sake of propitiating 
her ignorant classes, she enters upon lines of policy which 
her intelligence must condemn. So evenly balanced 
are the two sovereignties under which she lives, that 
sometimes one, sometimes the other, prevails ; and not 
unfrequently the one uses the other as an engine for the 
accomplishment of its ends. 

But this dual system approaches its close. To the 
northern nations, less imaginative and less superstitious, 
it had long ago become intolerable; they rejected it 
summarily at the epoch of the Keformation, notwith- 
standing the protestations and pretensions of Rome. 
Russia, happier than the rest, has never acknowledged 
the influence of any foreign spiritual power. She gloried 
in uer attachment to the ancient Greek rite, and saw in 
the papacy nothing more than a troublesome dissenter 
from the primitive faith. In America the temporal and 


the spiritual have been absolutely divorced — ^the latter 
is not permitted to have any thing to do with affairs of 
state, though in all other respects liberty is conceded to 
it. The condition of the New World also satisfies ug 
that both forms of Ohristianity, Catholic and Protestant, 
have lost their .expansive power; neither can pass be- 
ycmd its long-established boundary-line — ^the Catholic 
republics remain Catholic, the Protestant Protestant. 
And among the latter the disposition to sectarian isola- 
tion is disappearing ; persons of different denominations 
consort without hesitation together. They gather their 
current opinions from newspapers, not from the Church. 

Pius IX., in the movements we have been consider- 
ing, has had two objects in view : 1. The more thorough 
centralization of the papacy, with a spiritual autocrat as- 
suming the prerogatives of God at its head ; 2. Control 
over the intellectual development of the nations profess- 
ing Christianity. 

The logical consequence of the former of these is 
political intervention. He insists that in all cases the 
temporal must subordinate itself to the spiritual power ; 
all laws inconsistent with the interests of the Church 
must be repealed. They are not binding on the faith- 
ful. In the preceding pages I have briefly related some 
of the complications that have already occurred ih the 
attempt to maintain this policy. 

I now come to the consideration of the manner in 
which the papacy proposes to establish its intellectual 
control; how it defines its relation to its antagonist. 
Science, and, seeking a restoration of the mediaeval con- 
dition, opposes modem civilization, and denounces mod- 
em society. 

The Encyclical and Syllabus present the principles 
which it was the object of the Vatican Council to carry 


into practical effect. The Syllabus stigmatizes panthe- 
ism, naturalism, and absolute rationalism, denouncing 
such opinions as that God is the world ; that there is nc 
God other than Nature ; that theological matters must 
be treated in the same manner as philosophical ones ; 
that the methods and principles by which the old scho- 
lastic doctors cultivated theology are no longer suitable 
to the demands of the age and the progress of science ; 
that every man is free to embrace and profess the reli- 
gion he may believe to be true, guided by the light of 
his reason ; that it appertains to the civil power to de- 
fine what. are the rights and limits in which the Church 
may exercise authority; that the Church has not the 
right of availing herself of force or any direct or indi- 
rect temporal power; that the Church ought to be sepa- 
rated from the state and the state from the Church; 
that it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion 
shall be held as the only religion of the state, to the 
exclusion of all other modes of worship ; that persons 
coming to reside in Catholic countries have a right to 
the public exercise of their own worship ; that the Ro- 
man pontiff can and ought to reconcile himself to, and 
agree with, the progress of modem civilization. The 
Syllabus claims the right of the Church to control public 
schools, and denies the right of the state in that respect; 
it claims the control over marriage and divorce. 

Such of these principles as the Council found expe- 
dient at present to formularize, were set forth by it in 
"The Dogmatic Constitution of the Catholic Faith." 
The essential points of this constitution, more especially 
as regards the relations of religion to science, we have 
now to examine. It will be understood that the follow- 
ing does not present the entire document, but only an 
abstract of what appear to be its more important parts. 


This definition opens with a severe review of the 
principles and consequences of the Protestant Eef brma- 

" The rejection of the divine authority of the Church 
to teach, and the subjection of all things belonging to 
religion to tne judgment of each individual, have led to 
the production of many sects, and, as these differed and 
disputed with each other, all belief in Christ was over- 
thrown in the minds of not a few, and the Holy Script- 
ures began to be counted as myths and fables. Chris- 
tianity has been rejected, and the reign of mere Eeason 
as they call it, or Nature, substituted ; many falling into 
the abyss of pantheism, materialism, and atheism, and, 
repudiating the reasoning nature of man, and every rule 
^ of right and wrong, they are laboring to overthrow the 
very foundations of human society. As this impious 
heresy is spreading everywhere, not a few Catholics 
have been inveigled by it. They have confounded hu- 
man science and divine faith. 

" But the Church, the Mother and Mistress of nsr 
tions, is ever ready to strengthen the weak, to take to 
her bosom those that return, and carry them on to better 
things. And, now the bishops of the whole world being 
gathered together in this CEcumenical Council, and the 
Holy Ghost sitting therein, and judging with us, we 
have determined to . declare from this chair of St. Peter 
the saving doctrine of Christ, and proscribe and con- 
demn the opposing errors. 

" Of God, the Creatob of All Things. — The Holy 
Catholic Apostolic Eoman Church believes that there 
is one true and living God, Creator and Lord of Heaven 
and Earth, Almighty, Eternal, Immense, Incomprehen- 
sible, Infinite in understanding and will, and in all per- 
fection. He is distinct from the world. Of his own 


most free counsel lie made alike out of nothing twc 
created creatures, a spiritual and a temporal, angelic and 
earthly. Afterward he made the human nature, com- 
posed of both. Moreover, God by his providence pro- 
tects and governs all things, reaching from end to end 
mightily, and ordering all things harmoniolisly. Every 
thing is open to his eyes, even things that come to pass 
by the free action of his creatures." 

" Of Revelation. — The Holy Mother Church holds 
that God can be known with certainty by the natural 
light of human reason, but that it has also pleased him 
to reveal himself and the eternal decrees of his will in 
a supernatural way. This supernatural revelation, as 
declared by the Holy Council of Trent, is contained in 
the books of the Old and New Testament, as enumer- 
ated in the decrees of that Council, and as are to be had 
in the old Vulgate Latin edition. These are sacred be- 
cause they were written under the inspiration of the 
Holy. Ghost. They have God for their author, and as 
such have been delivered to the Church. 

" And, in order to restrain restless spirits, who may 
give erroneous explanations, it is decreed — ^renewing 
the decision of the Council of TreAt — ^that no one may 
interpret the sacred Scriptures contrary to the sense in 
which they are interpreted by Holy Mother Church, to 
whom such interpretation belongs." , 

" Of Fatih. — ^Inasmuch as man depends on God as 
his Lord, and created reason is whoUy subject to un- 
created truth, be is bound when God makes a revelation 
to obey it by faith. This faith is a supernatural vir- 
tue, and the beginning of man's salvation who believes 
revealed things to be true, not for their intrinsic truth 
as seen by the natural light of reason, but for the au- 
thority of God in revealing them. But, nevertheless. 


that faith might be agreeable to reason, God willed to 
join miracles and prophecies, which, showing forth his 
omnipotence and knowledge, are proofs suited to the 
understanding of all. Such we have in Moses and the 
prophets, and above all in Christ. Now, all those things 
are to be believed which are written in the word of God, 
or handed down by tradition, which the Church by her 
teachhig has proposed for belief. 

" No one can be justified without this faith, nor shall 
any one, unless he persevere therein to the end, at- 
tain everlasting life. Hence God, through his only-be- 
gotten Son, has established the Church as the guardian 
and teacher of his revealed word. For only to the 
Catholic Church do all those signs belong which make 
evident the credibility of the Christian faith. Nay, 
more, the very Church heraeK, in view of her wonder- 
ful propagation, her eminent holiness, her exhaustless 
f ruitf ulness in all that is good, her Catholic unity, her 
unshaken stability, offers a great and evident claim to 
belief, and an undeniable proof of her divine mission. 
Thus the Church shows to her children that the faith 
they hold rests on a most solid foundation. "Wherefore, 
totally unlike is the condition of those who, by the 
heavenlygift of faith, have embraced the Catholic truth, 
and of those who, led by human opinions, are following 
a false religion." 

." Of Faiih and Eeason. — ^Moreover, the Catholic 
Church has ever held and now holds that there exists a 
twofold order of knowledge, each of which is distract 
from the other, both as to its principle and its object. 
As to its principle, because in the one we know by natu- 
ral reason, in the other by divine faith ; as to the ob- 
ject, because, besides those things which our natural rear 
son can attain, there are proposed to our belief mysteries 


hidden in God, which, nnless by him revealed, cannot 
come to our knowledge. 

" Keason, indeed, enlightened by faith, and seeking, 
with diligence and godly sobriety, may, by God's gift, 
come to some nnderstanding, limited in d^ree, but 
most wholesome in its effects, of mysteries, both from 
the analogy of things which are naturally known and 
from the connection of the mysteries themselves with 
one another and with man's last end. But never can 
reason be rendered capable of thoroughly understand- 
ing mysteries as it does those truths, which form its prop- 
er object. For God's mysteries^ in their very nature, 
so far surpass the reach of created intellect, that, even 
when taught by revelation and received by faith, they 
remain covered by faith itseK, as by a veil, and shroud- 
ed, as it were, in darkness as long as in this mortal life. 

" But, although faith be above reason, there never can 
be a real disagreement between them, since the same 
God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has given 
man's soul the light of reason, and God cannot deny 
himself, nor can one truth ever contradict another. 
Wherefore the empty shadow of such contradiction 
arises chiefly from this, that either the doctrines of faith 
are not understood and set forth as the Church really 
holds them, or that the vain devices and opinions of 
men are mistaken for the dictates of reason. We 
therefore pronounce false every assertion which is con- 
trary to the enlightened truth of faith. Moreover, the 
Church, which, together with her apostolic .office of 
teaching, is charged. also with the guardianship of the 
deposits of faith, holds likewise from God the right 
and the duty to condemn ^knowledge, falsely so called,' 
^ lest any man be cheated by philosophy and vain deceit.- 
Hence all the Christian faithful are not only f orbidder 


to defend, as legitimate conclusiolis of science, those 
opinions which are known to he contrary to the doctrine 
of faith, especially when condemned by the Church, but 
are rather absolutely bound to hold them for errors 
wearing the deceitful appearance of truth. 

" Not only is it impossible for faith and reason ever 
to contradict each other, but they rather afford each 
other mutual assistance. For right reason establishes 
the foundation of faith, and,, by the aid of its light, 
cultivates the science of divine things; and faith, on 
the other hand, frees and preserves reason from errors, 
and enriches it with knowledge of many kinds. So far, 
then, is the Church from opposing the culture of hu- 
man arts and sciences, that she rather aids and pro- 
motes it in many ways. For she is not ignorant of nor 
does she despise the advantages which flow from them 
to the life of man ; on the contrary, she acknowledges 
that, as they sprang from God, the Lord of knowledge, 
so, if they be rightly pursued, they will, through the 
aid of his grace, lead to God. Nor does she forbid 
any of those sciences the use of its own principles and 
its own method within its own proper sphere ; but, rec- 
ognizing this reasonable freedom, she takes care that 
they may not, by contradictiQg God's teaching, fall into 
errors, or, overstepping the due limits, invade or throw 
into confusion the domaia of faith. 

" For the doctrine of faith revealed by God has not 
been proposed, like some philosophical discovery, to be 
made perfect by human ingenuity, but it has been de- 
livered to the spouse of Christ as a divine deposit, to 
be faithfully guarded and tmerringly set forth. Hencej 
all tenets of holy faith are to be explained always ao- 
cording to the sense and meaning of the Church ; nor 
is it ever lawful to depart therefrom under pretense 


or color of a more enlightened explanation. Therefore^ 
as generations and centuries roll on, let the understand- 
ing, knowledge, and wisdom of each and every one, of 
individuals and of the whole Church, grow apace aad 
increase exceedingly, yet only in its kind ; that is to say 
retaining pure and inviolate the sense and meaning and 
belief of the same doctrine." 

Among other canons the following were promulgated : 

" Let him be anathema — 

*^ Who denies the one true God, Creator and Lord 
of all things, visible and" invisible. 

"Who unblushingly affirms that, besides matter, 
nothing else exists. 

" Who says that the substance or essence of God, 
and of all things, is one and the same. 

"Who says that finite things, both corporeal and 
spiritual, or at least spiritual things, are emanations of 
the divine substance; or that the divine essence, by 
manifestation or development of itself, becomes all 

" Who does not acknowledge that the world and all 
things which it contains were produced by God out of 

" Who shall say that man can and ought to, of his 
own efforts, by means of constant progress, arrive, at 
last, at the possession of all truth and goodness. 

" Who shall refuse to receive, for sacred and canoni- 
cal, the books of Holy Scripture in their integrity, with 
all their parts, according as they were enumerated by 
the holy Council of Trent, or shall deny that they are 
inspired by God. 

" Who shaU say that human reason is ia such wise 
independent, that faith cannot be demanded of it by 


"Who shall say that divine revelation cannot be ren- 
dered -credible by external evidences. 

" Who shall say that no miracles can be wrought, or 
that they can never be known vdth certainty, and that 
the divine origin of Christianity cannot be proved by 

" Who shall say that divine revelation includes no 
mysteries, bnt that all the dogmas of faith may be un- 
derstood and demonstrated by reason duly cultivated. 

" Who shall say that human sciences ought to be pur- 
sued in such a spirit of freedom that one may be al- 
lowed to hold as true their assertions, even when op- 
posed to revealed doctrine. 

" Who shall say thut it may at any time come to pass, 
in the progress of science, that the doctrines set forth 
by the Church must be taken in another sense than that 
in which the Church has ever received and yet receives 

The extraordinary and, indeed, it may be said, arro- 
gant assumptions contained in these decisions were far 
from being received with satisfaction by educated Cath- 
olics. On the part of the German universities there 
was resistance ; and, when, at the close of the year, 
the decrees of the Vatican Council were generally ac- 
quiesced in, it was not through conviction of their 
truth, but through a disciplinary sense of obedience. 

By many of the most pious Catholics the entire 
movement and the results to which it had led were 
looked upon with the sincerest sorrow. P^re Hyacinthe, 
in a letter to tixe superior of his order, says :'« I pro-' 
test against the divorce, as impious as it is insensate, 
sought to be effected between the Church, which is oui 
eternal mother, and the society of the nineteenth cen 


tury, of whicli we are the temporal children, and tow- 
ard which we have also duties and regards. It is my 
njost profound conviction that, if France in particular, 
and the Latin race in general, are given up to social, 
moral, and religious anarchy, the principal cause un- 
doubtedly is not Catholicism itself, but the manner in 
which Catholicism has for a long time been understood 
and practised." 

Notwithstanding his infallibility, which imphes om- 
niscience, his Holiness did not foresee the issue of the 
Franco-Prussian "War. Had the prophetical talent been 
vouchsafed to him, he would have detected the inoppor- 
tuneness of the acts of his Council. His request to the 
King of Prussia for military aid to support his tempo- 
ral power was denied. The excommunicated King of 
Italy, as we have seen, took possession of -Eome. A 
bitter papal encyclical, strangely contrasting with the 
courteous politeness of modem state-papers, was issued, 
November 1, 1870, denoxmcing the acts of the Pied- 
montese court, " which had followed the counsel of the 
sects of perdition." In this his Holiness declares that 
he is in captivity, and that he will have no agreement 
with Belial. He pronounces the greater excommunica- 
tion, with censures and penalties, against his antagonists, 
and prays for "the intercession of the immaculate Vir- 
gin Mary, mother of God, and that of the blessed apos- 
tles Peter and Paul." 

Of the various Protestant denominations, several 
had associated themselves, for the purposes of consulta- 
tion, under the designation of the Evangelical Alliance. 
Their last meeting was held in New York, in the au- 
tumn of 1873. Though, in this meeting, were gathered 
together many pious representatives of the Reformed 


Churches, Enropean and American, it had not the pres- 
tige nor the authority of the Great Council that had just 
previously closed its sessions in St. Peter's, at Eome. It 
could not appeal to an unbroken ancestry of far more 
than a thousand years ; it could not speak with the au- 
thority of an equal and, indeed, of a superior to emper- 
ors and kings. While profound intelligence and a 
statesmanlike, worldly wisdom gleamed in every thing 
that the Yatican Council had done, the Evangelical Alli- 
ance met without a clear and precise view of its objects, 
without any definitely-marked intentions. Its wish was 
to draw into closer union the various Protestant Church- 
es, but it had no well-grounded hope of accomplishing 
that desirable result. It illustrated the necessary work- 
ing of the principle on which those Churches originated. 
They were founded on dissent and exist by separation. 

Yet in the action of the Evangelical Alliance may 
be discerned certain very impressive facts. It averted 
its eyes from its ancient antagonist — ^ihat antagonist 
which had so recently loaded the Keformation with 
contumely and denunciation — it fastened them, as the 
Vatican Council had done, on Science. Under that 
dreaded name there stood before it what seemed to be 
a spectre of uncertain form, of hourly-dilating propor- 
tions, of threatening aspect. Sometimes the Alliance 
addressed this stupendous apparition in words of cour- 
tesy, sometimes in tones of denunciation. 

The Alliance failed to perceive that modem Science 
is the legitimate sister — ^indeed, it is the twin-sister — 
of the Kef ormation. They were begotten together and 
were born together. It failed to perceive that, though 
there is an impossibility of bringing into coalition the 
many conflicting sects, they may all find in science a 
point of connection ; and that, not a distrustful attitude 


toward it, but a cordial nnion with it, is their true 

It remains now to oflFer some reflections^ on this 
" Constitution of the CathoKc Faith," as defined by the 
Yatican Council. 

For objects to present themselves under identical re- 
lations to different persons, they must be seen from the 
same point of view. In the instance we are now con- 
sidering, the religious man has his own especial station ; 
the scientific man another, a very difEerent one. It is 
not for either to demand that his coobserver shaU admit 
that the panorama of facts spread before them is actu- 
ally such as it appears to him to be. 

The Dogmatic Constitution insists on the admission 
of this postulate, that the Eoman Church acts under a 
divine commission, specially and exclusively delivered 
to it. In virtue of that great authority, it requires of 
all men the surrender of their intellectual convictions, 
and of all nations the subordination of their civil power. 

But a claim so imposing must be substantiated by 
the most decisive and unimpeachable credentials ; proofs, 
not only of an implied and indirect kind, but clear, em- 
phatic, and to the point ; proofs that it would be impos- 
sible to caU in question. 

The Churdi, however, declares, that she will not 
submit her claim to the arbitrament of human reason ; 
she demands that it shall be at once conceded as an 
article of faith. * 

If this be admitted, aU her requirements must neces- 
sarily be assented to, no matter how exorbitant they 
may be. 

With strange inconsistency the Dogmatic Constitur 
tion deprecates reason, aflSrming that it cannot deter 


mine the points under consideration, and yet submits to 
it arguments for adjudication. In truth, it might be 
said that the whole composition is a passionate plea to 
Eeason to stultify itself in favor of Eoman Christianity. 

"With points of view so widely asunder, it is impos- 
sible that Eeligion and Science should accord in their 
representation of things. Nor can any conclusion in 
common be reached, except by an appeal to Eeason as a 
supreme and final judge. 

There are many religions in the world, some of them 
of more venerable antiquity, some having far more nu- 
merous adherents, than the Eoman. How can a selec- 
tion be made among them, except by such an appeal to 
Eeason i Eeligion and Science must both submit their 
claims and their dissensions to its arbitrament. 

Against this the Yatican Council protests. It exalts 
faith to a superiority over reason ; it says that they con- 
stitute two separate orders of knowledge, having respec- 
tively for their objects mysteries and facts. Faith deals 
with mysteries, reason with facts. Asserting the domi- 
nating superiority of faith, it tries to satisfy the reluc- 
tant mind with miracles and prophecies. 

On the other hand, Science turns away from the 
incomprehensible, and rests herself on the maxim of 
Wiclif : " God f orceth not a man to believe that which 
he cannot understand." In the absence of an exhibi- 
tion of satisfactory credentials on the part of her oppo- 
nent, she considers whether there be in the history of 
the papacy, and in the biography of the popes, any 
thing that can adequately sustain a divine commission, 
any thing that can justify pontifical infallibility, or ex- 
tort that unhesitating obedience which is due to the 

One of the most striking and yet contradictory feat- 


ores of the Dogmatic Constitution is, the reluctant hom- 
age it pays to the intelligence of man. It presents a 
definition of the philosophical basis of Catholicism, but 
it veils from view the repulsive features of the vulgar 
faith. It sets forth the attributes of God, the Creator 
of all things, in words fitly designating its sublime con- 
ception, but it abstains from affirming that this most 
awful and eternal Being was bom of an earthly mother, 
the wife of a Jewish carpenter, who has since become 
the queen of heaven. Tfie God it depicts is not the 
God of the middle ages, seated on his golden throne, 
surrounded by choirs of angels, but the God of Philoso- 
phy. The Constitution has nothing to say about the 
Trinity, nothing of the worship due to the Yirgin— on 
the contrary, that is by implication sternly condenmed ; 
nothing about transubstantiation, or the making of the 
flesh and blood of God by the priest ; nothing of the 
invocation of the saints. It bears on its face subordi- 
nation to the thought of the age, the impress of the in- 
teUectual progress of man. 

Such being the exposition rendered to us respecting 
the attributes of God, it next instructs us as to his mode 
of government of the world. The Church asserts that 
she possesses a supernatural control over all material 
and moral events. The priesthood, in its various grades, 
can determine issues of the future, either by the exercise 
of its inherent attributes, or by its iofluential invoca- 
tion of the celestial powers. To the sovereign pontiff 
it has been given to bind or loose at his pleasure. It is 
unlawful to appeal from his judgments to an CEcumeni- 
cal Coxmcil, as if to an earthly arbiter superior to him. 
Powers such as these are consistent with arbitrary rule, 
but they are inconsistent with the government of the 
world by immutable law. Hence the Dogmatic Consti- 


tution plants itself firmly, in behalf of incessant provi- 
dential interventions ; it will not for a moment admit 
that in natural things there is an irresistible sequence 
of events, or in the affairs of men an unavoidable course 
of acts. 

But has not the order of civilization in all parts of 
the world been the same? Does not the growth of so- 
ciety resemble individual growth ? Do not both exhibit 
to us phases of youth, of maturity, of decrepitude? To 
a person who has carefully considered 4;he progressive 
civilization of groups of men in regions of the earth far 
apart, who has observed the identical forms under which 
that advancing civilization has manifested itseK, is it 
not clear tl^at the procedure is determined by law? 
The religious ideas of the Incas of Peru and tiie em- 
perors of Mexico, and the ceremonials of their court-life, 
were the same as those in Europe — the same as those in 
Asia. The current of thought had been the same. A 
swarm of bees carried to sonie distant land will build 
its combs and regulate its social institutions as other 
unknown swarms would do, and so with separated and 
disconnected swarms of men. So invariable is this se- 
quence of thought and act, that there are philosophers 
who, transferring the past example offered by Asiatic 
history to the case of Europe, would not hesitate to 
sustain the proposition — ^given a bishop of Rome and 
some centuries, and you wiU have an infallible pope : 
given an infallible pope and a little more time, and you 
will have Uamaism — ^Uamaism to which Asia has long 
ago attained. 

As to the origin of corporeal and spiritual things, 
the Dogmatic Constitution adds a solemn emphasis to its 
declarations, by anathematizing all those who hold the 
doctrine of emanation, or who believe that visible Nature 



is only a manifestation of the Divine Essence. In this 
its authors had a task of no ordinary diJBiculty before 
them. They must encounter those formidable ideas, 
whether old or new, which in our times are so strongly 
forcing themselves on thoughtful men. The doctrine 
of the conservation and correlation of Force yields as its 
logical issue the time-worn Oriental emanation theory ; 
the doctrines of Evolution and Development strike at 
that of successive creative acts. The former rests on 
the fundamental principle that the quantity of force in 
the imiverse is invariable. Though that quantity can 
neither be increased nor diminished, the forms under 
which Force expresses itself may be transmuted into 
each other. As yet this doctrine has not rpceived com- 
plete scientific demonstration, but so numerous and so 
cogent are the arguments adduced in its behalf, that it 
stands in an imposing, almost in an authoritative atti- 
tude. Now, the Asiatic theory of emanation and ab- 
sorption is seen to be in harmony with this grand idea. 
It does not hold that, at the conception of a human be- 
ing, a soul is created by God out of nothing end given 
to it, but that a portion of the already existing, the 
divine, the universal intelligence, is imparted, and, when 
hf e is over, this returns to and is absorbed in the gen- 
eral source from which it originally came. The authors 
of the Constitution forbid these ideas to be held, imder 
pain of eternal punishment. 

In hke manner they dispose of the doctrines of 
Evolution and Development, bluntly insisting that the 
Ohurch believes in distinct creative acts. The doctrine 
that every living form is derived from some preced- 
ing form is scientifically in a much more advanced po- 
sition* than that concerning Force, and probably may 
be considered as established, whatever may become of 


the additions witli which it has recently been over- 

In her condemnation of the Reformation, the Chm*ch 
carries into effect her ideas of the subordination of 
reason to faith. In her eyes the Eeformation is an im- 
pious heresy, leading to the abyss of pantheism, materi- 
alism, and atheism, and tending to overthrow the very 
fomidations of human society. She therefore would 
restrain those "restless spirits'* who, following Luther, 
have upheld the " right of every man to interpret the 
Scriptures for himself." She asserts that it is a wicked 
error to admit Protestants to equal political privileges 
with Catholics, and that to coerce them and suppress 
them is a sacred duty ; that it is abominable to permit 
them to establish educational institutions. Gregory 
XVI. denounced freedom of conscience as an insane 
folly, and the freedom of the press a pestilent error, 
which cannot be- sufficiently detested. 

But how is it possible to recognize an inspired and 
infallible oracle on the Tiber, when it is remembered 
that again and again successive popes have contradicted 
each other; that popes have denounced councils, and 
councils have denounced .popes; that the Bible of Sixtus 
V. had so many admitted errors — ^nearly two thousand 
— ^that its own authors had to recall it? How is it pos- 
sible for the children of the Church to regard as " de- 
lusive errors " the globular form of the earth, her posi- 
tion as a planet in the solar system, her rotation on her 
axis, her movement round the sun? How can they. deny 
that there are antipodes, and other worlds than ours? 
How can they believe that the world was made out of 
nothing, completed in a week, finished just as we see it 
now; that it has undergone no change, but that its 
parts have worked so indifferently as to require incessant 


When Science is thus commanded to surrender her 
intellectual convictions, may she not ask the ecclesiastic 
to remember the past i The contest respecting the figure 
of the earth, and the location of heaven and hell, ended 
adversely to him. He aflSrmed that the earth is an ex- 
tended plane, and that the sky is a firmament, the floor 
of heaven, through which again and again persons have 
been seen to ascend. The globular form demonstrated 
beyond any possibility of contradiction by astronomical 
facts, and by the voyage of Magellan's ship, he then 
maintained that it is the central body of the universe, 
all others being in subordination to it, and it the grand 
object of God's regard. Forced from this position, he 
next affirmed that it is motionless, the sun and the stars 
actually revolving, as they apparently do, around it. 
The invention of the telescope proved that here again 
he was in error. Then he maintained that all the mo- 
tions of the solar system are regulated by providential 
intervention; the "Principia" of Newton demonstrated 
that they are due to irresistible law. He then affirmed 
that the earth and all the celestial bodies were created 
about six thousand years ago, and that in six days the 
order of Nature was settled, and plants and animals in 
their various tribes introduced. Constrained by the ac- 
cumulating mass of adverse evidence, he enlarged his 
days into periods of indefinite length — only, however, 
to find that even this device was inadequate. The six 
ages, with their six special creations, could no longer be 
maintained, when it was discovered that species, slowly 
emerged in one age, reached a culmination in a second, 
and gradually died out in a third : this overlapping from 
age to age would not only have demanded creations, but 
I'e-creations also. He affirmed that there had been a 
deluge, which covered the whole earth above the tops 


of the highest mountains, and tha,t the waters of this 
flood were removed by a wind. Correct ideas respect- 
ing the dimensions of the atmosphere, and of the sea, 
and of the operation of evaporation, proved how unten- 
able these statements are. Of the progenitors of the 
hmnan race, he declared that they had come from their 
Maker's hand perfect, both in body and mind, and had 
subsequently experienced a fall. He is now consider- 
ing how best to dispose of the evidence continually ac- 
cumulating respecting the savage condition of prehis- 
toric man. 

Is it at all surprising that the number of those who 
hold the opinions of the Church in light esteem should 
so rapidly increase ? How can that be received as a 
trustworthy guide in the invisible, which falls into so 
many errors in the visible ? How can that give confi- 
dence in the moral, the spiritual, which has so signally 
failed in the physical ? It is not possible to dispose of 
these conflictmg facts as " empty shadows," " vain de- 
vices," "fictions coming from knowledge falsely so 
called," " errors wearing the deceitful appearance of 
truth," as the Church stigmatizes them. On the con- 
trary, they are stem witnesses, bearing emphatic and 
unimpeachable testimony against the ecclesiastical claim 
to infallibility, and fastening a conviction of ignorance 
and blindness upon her. 

Convicted of so many errors, the papacy makes no 
attempt at explanation. It ignores the whole matter. 
Nay, more, relying on the efficacy of audacity, though 
confronted by these facts, it lays claim to infallibility. 

But, to the pontiff, no other rights can be conceded 

than those he can establish at the bar of Eeason. He 

cannot claim infallibility in religious affairs, and decline 

it in scientific. Infallibility embraces all things. It 



impKes omniscience. If it holds good for theology, it 
necessaiily holds good for science. How is it possible 
to coordinate the infallibility of the papacy with the 
well-known errors into which it has f aUen ? 

Does it not, then, become needful to reject the claim 
of the papacy to the employment of coercion in the main- 
tenance of its opinions ; to repudiate utterly the declare 
tion that " the Inquisition is an urgent necessity in view 
of the unbelief of the present age," and in the name of 
human nature to protest loudly against the ferocity and 
terrorism of that institution ? Has not conscience in- 
alienable rights ? 

An impassable and hourly-widening gulf intervenes 
between Catholicism and the spirit of the age. Catholi- 
cism insists that blind faith is superior to reason ; that 
mysteries are of more importance than facts. She claims 
to be the sole interpreter of Nature, and revelation, the 
supreme arbiter of knowledge ; she summarily rejects 
aU modem criticism of the Scriptures, and orders the 
Bible to be accepted in accordance with the views of the 
theologians of Trent ; she openly avows her hatred of 
free institutions and constitutional systems, and declares 
that those are in damnable error who regard the recon- 
ciliation of the pope with modem civilization as either 
possible or desirable. 

But the spirit of the age demands — ^is the human in- 
tellect is to be subordinated to the Tridentine Fathers, 
or to the fancy of illiterate and uncritical persons who 
wrote in the earlier ages of the Church ? It sees no 
merit in blind faith, but rather distrusts it. It looks 
forward to an improvement in the popular canon of 
credibility for a decision between fact and fiction. It 
does not consider itseK bound to believe fables and 
falsehoods that have been invented for ecclesiastical 


ends. It finds no argument in behaK of tlieir truth, 
that traditions and legends have been long-lived ; in 
this respect, those of the Church are greatly inferior 
to the fables of paganism. The longevity of the Church 
itself is not due to divine protection or intervention, but 
to the skill with which it has adapted its policy to exist- 
ing circumstances. If antiquity be the criterion of au- 
thenticity, the claims of Buddhism must be respected ; 
it lias the superior warrant of many centuries. There 
can be no defense of those deliberate falsifications of 
history, that concealment of historical facts, of which 
the Church has so often taken advantage. In these 
things the end does not justify the means. 

Then has it in truth come to this, that Koman Chris- 
tianity and Science are recognized by their respective 
adherents as being absolutely incompatible ; they can- 
not exist together ; one must yield to the other ; man- 
kind must make its choice — ^it cannot have both. 

While such is, perhaps, the issue as regards Catholi- 
cism, a reconciliation of the Kef ormation with Science 
is not only possible, but would easily take place, if the 
Protestant Churches would only live up to the maxim 
taught by Luther, and established by so* many years of 
war. . That maxim is, the right of private interpreta- 
tion of the Scriptures. It was the foundation of intel- 
lectual liberty. But, if a personal interpretation of the 
book of Kevelation is permissible, how can it be denied 
in the case of the book of Nature ? In the misunder- 
standings that have taken place, we must ever bear in 
mind the infirmities of men. The generations that im- 
mediately followed the Reformation may perhaps be 
excused for not comprehending the full significance of 
their cairdinal principle, and for not on all occasions car- 
rying it into effect. When Calvin cau«ed Servetus to 


be burnt, lie was animated, not by the principles of the 
Eeformation, but by those of Catholicism, from which 
he had not been able to emancipate himself completely. 
And when the clergy of influential Protestant confes- 
sions have stigmatized the investigators of Nature as 
infidels and atheists, the same may be said. For Catholi- 
cism to reconcile itself to Science, there are formidable, 
j)erhap3 insuperable obstacles in the way. For Protes- 
tantism to achieve that great result there are not. In 
the one case there is a bitter, a mortal animosity to be 
overcome ; in the other, a friendship, that misunderstand- 
ings have alienated, to be restored. 

But, whatever may be the preparatory incidents of . 
that great impending intellectual crisis which Christen- 
dom must soon inevitably witness, of this we may rest 
assured, that the silent secession from the public faith, 
which in so ominous a maimer characterizes the pres- 
ent generation, will find at length political expression. 
It is not without significance that France reenforces the 
ultramontane tendencies of her lower population, by the 
promotion of pilgrimages, the perpetration of miracles, 
the exhibition of celestial apparitions. Constrained to ■ 
do this by her destiny, she does it with a blush. It is 
not without significance that Germany resolves to rid 
herseK of the incubus of a dual government, by the 
exclusion of the Italian element, and to carry to its 
completion that Eef ormation which three centuries ago 
she left unfinished. The time approaches when men 
must take their choice between quiescent, immobile faith 
and ever-advancing Science — faith, with its mediaeval 
consolations. Science, which is incessantly scattering its 
material blessings in the pathway of life, elevating the 
lot of man in this world, and unifying the human race. 


Its triumphs are solid and enduring. But the glory 
which Catholicism might gain from a conflict with ma- 
terial ideas is at the best only like that of other celestial 
meteors when they touch the atmosphere of the earth 
— ^transitory and useless. 

Though Quizot's aflSrmation that the Church has 
always sided witlj despotism is only too true, it must 
be remembered that in the policy she follows there 
is much of political necessity. She is urged on by the 
pressure of nineteen centuries. But, if the irresistible 
indicates itself in her action, the inevitable manifests 
itself in her life. For it is with the papacy as with a 
man. It has passed through the struggles of infancy, 
it has displayed* the energies of maturity, and, its work 
completed, it must sink into the feebleness and queru- 
lousness of old age. Its youth can never be renewed. 
The influence of its souvenirs alone will remain. As 
pagan Home threw her departing shadow over the em- 
pire and tinctured all its thoughts, so Christian Rome 
casts her parting shadow over Europe. 

Will modem civilization consent to abandon the 
career of advancement which has given it so much power 
and happiness ? WiU it consent to retrace its steps to the 
semi-barbarian ignorance and superstition of the middle 
ages ? WiU it submit to the dictation of a power, which, 
claiming divine authority, can present no adequate cre- 
dentials of its office; a power which kept Europe in a 
stagnant condition for many centuries, ferociously sup- 
pressing by the stake and the sword every attempt at 
progress ; a power that is founded in a cloud of myste- 
ries ; that sets itself above reason and common-sense ; 
that loudly proclaims the hatred it entertains against 
liberty of thought and freedom in civil institutions ; that 
professes its intention of repressing the one and destroy- 


ing the other whenever it can find the opportunity ; that 
denounces as most pernicious and insane the opinion 
that liberty of conscience and of worship is the right of 
every man; that protests against that right being pro- 
claimed and asserted by law in every well-governed 
state ; that contemptuously repudiates the principle that 
the will of the p€K)ple, manifested by public opinion (as 
it is called) or by other means, shall constitute law ; that 
refuses to every man any title to opinion in matters of 
religion, but holds that it is simply his duty to believe 
what he is told by the Church, and to obey her com- 
mands ; that will iiot permit any temporal government 
to define the rights and prescribe limits to the authority 
of the Church ; that declares it not only may but will 
resort to force to discipline disobedient individuals ; that 
invades the sanctity of private life, by making, at the 
confessional, the wife and daughters and servants of one 
suspected, spies and informers against him; that tries 
him without an accuser, and by torture makes him bear 
witness against himself ; that denies the right of parents 
to educate their children outside of its own Church, and 
insists that to it alone belongs the supervision of domes- 
tic life and the control of marriages and divorces ; that 
denounces " the impudence " of those who presume to 
subordinate the authority of the Church to the civil an- 
thority, or who advocate the separation of the Church 
from the state ; that absolutely repudiates all toleration, 
and affirms that the Catholic religion is entitled to be 
held as the only religion in every country, to the exclu- 
sion of all other modes of worship ; that requires all laws 
standing in the way of its interests to be repealed, 
and, if that be refused, orders all its followers to disobey 

This power, conscious that it can work no miracle to 


serve itself, does not hesitate to disturb society by its 
intrigues against governments, and seeks to accomplish 
its ends by alliances with despotism. , 

Claims such as these mean a revolt against moaem 
civilization, an intention of destroying it, no matter at 
what social cost. To submit to them without resistance, 
men must be slaves indeed I 

As to the issue of the coining conflict, can any one 
doubt ? "Whatever is resting on fiction and fraud will 
be overthrown. Institutions that organize impostures 
and spread delusions must show what right they have 
to exist. Faith must render an account of herself to 
Reason. Mysteries must give place to facts. Religion 
must relinquish that imperious, that domineering posi- 
tion which she has so long maintained against Science. 
There must be absolute freedom for thought. The eccle- 
siastic must learn to keep himself withiu the domain he 
has chosen, and cease to tyrannize over the philosopher, 
who, conscious of his own strength and the purity of 
his motives, will bear . such interference no longer. 
What was written by Esdras near the willow-fringed 
rivers of Babylon, more than twenty-three centuries 
ago, still holds good : " 4lS for Truth it endureth and is 
always strong ; it liveth and conquereth for evermore." 




Absorption, doctrine of, 122. 

Abubeker invades Syria, ST. 

Active intellect, 138. 

^neas Sylvius's description of the 
British Isles, 265. 

Agesilaus, his expedition, 5. 

Alexander invades Persia, 6 ; death 
of; 16. 

Alexandria, foundation of, 17 ; Mu- 
seum, 18 ; library, 19 ; captured 
by AmroUj 94. 

Al-Gazzali, quotation from, 101 ; on 
the soul, 12Y. 

Algebra invented by the Saracens, 
112, 115, 304. 

Alhazen, IIY. 

Alliance, Evangelical, 352. 

Almagest, 112. 

Al-Mamun measures the earth, 109, 
155 ; his libraries, 112 ; quotation 
from, 115 ; denounced, 142 ; 
translates the " Syntaxis," 158. 

Almansor at Bagdad, 111. 

America, discovery of, 159 ; its 
progress, 286. 

American Revolution, 824. 

Amrou invades Egypt, 93 ; consults 
the khalif about the Alexandrian 
Library, 102. 

Anaesthetics, 318. 

Anathema, Nicene, 53 ; of the Vati- 
can Council, 350. 

Andalusia, conquest of, 96 ; civili- 
zation of, 141. 

Animals, are they automata ? 128- 

Antipodes, St. Augustine on the, 64. 

ApoUonius, his mathematical works, 
29 ; water-clock ofj 31. 

Aquinas, St. Thomas, resists Avci/o- 
ism, 150. 

Arabs, their fatalism, 106; litera- 
ture, 111 ; manufacture and agri- 
culture, 117 ; inventions and dis- 
coveries, 158. 

Arbela, battle of, 6. 

Archimedes, 28. 

Argyll, Duke of, quotation from, 

Aristarchus, 156. 

Arithmetic, Indian, 115. 

Aristotelian philosophy, 22. 

Arius, 61 ; councils respecting, 205. 

Assyrian printing, 14. 

Astronomy, Arabian, 116 ; periods 
of progress, 232. 

Atmospheric refraction, 117, 158. 

Augustine denounces Pelagius, 56 ; 
review of his writings ; 58-62 ; 
on antipodes, 64. 

Auricular confession, 207. 

Averroism, 124, 139 ; in Andalusia, 
^42 ; opposed by the Dominicans, 
143 ; in Europe, 149 ; in Italy, 
150, 210. 


Babylon, 10. 

Babylonian astronomy, 13. 

Bacon, Lord, 233. 

Bagdad a centre of science. 111. 

Bahira converts Mohammed, 78. 

Bartholomew's eve, 214. 

Bede, Venerable, quotation from 

the, 65. 
Bozrah, fall of, 88. 
Bradley discovers aberration of the 

stars, 172. 
Bruno, 177 ; is murdered, 180. 



Buddhism, doctrine as to the soul, 
122 ; nature of, 138. 


Caaba, 86. 

Cajetan to Luther, 211. 

Callisthenos, death of, 16. 

Calvin, 213 ; bums Servetus, 216 ; 
on predestination, 252. 

Catholicity, the failure of, 285, 321. 

Cape,, the, doubling of, 163, 294. 

Cardinals, college of, 276. 

Carthage burned, by the Saracens, 
95 ; had introduced Latin Chris- 
tianity, 95. 

Cassini discovers the oblateness of 
Jupiter, 188. 

Censorship, 293. 

Chain of Destiny, 108. 

Chakia Mouni, 188. 

Chaldean Church established, 78 ; 
observations, 13. 

Chemistry, origin of, 112-116. 

Chosroea invades the Roman Em- 
pire, 76 ; captures Jerusalem, 76 ; 
carries oflf the cross, 77. 

Christianity, origin of, 34 ; pagan- 
ization, 46 ; transformed into a 
political system, 62. 

Chronology, vulgar, 184 ; patristic, 

Chronometer, 312. 

Church, Catholic, its numbers, 328 ; 
its pretensions ; 829 ; appanage 
of Italy, 341 ; its claims, 865. 

Circumnavigation of the earth, 163. 

Civilization and Catholicity, 282. 

Clay libraries, 13. 

Clementine Constitutions, 211. 

Colenso on the Pentateuch, 219. 

Coliseum, 256. 

Colleges, Arabian, 214. 

Columbus, voyage o^ 159 ; discov- 
ers the line of no variation, 162. 

Confusion of tonmies, 186. 

Conservation of force, 358. 

Constantine becomes emperor, 39 ; 
his ^ to the pope, 272. 

Constitution, dogmatic, of Catholic 
faith, 344, 854. 

Cooling of the earth, 245. 

Copemicua, 167 ; his system estab- 
lished, 172. 

Cosmas Indicopleustes, 64, 154. 

Cosmogony, scientific, 188. 

Councils determine truth, 204 ; in- 
fallible, 226. 

Creation and evolution, 192. 

Crisis, impending, 327. 

Criterion of truth, 201. 

Crown of thorns, 270. 

Ctesibius invents the fire-en^ne, 81. 

Curia, its business, 274. 

Cyril murders Hypatia, 55 ; bribea 
the eunuch, 72. 


Damascus, fall of, 76, 89. 

Death, introduction of, into the 
world, 66. 

Decretals, Isidorian, 271. 

De Dominis, punishment of, 319. 

DeGama, 163, 294. 

Degree, measure of a, 165, 236. 

D'Elcano, Sebastian, completes cir- 
cumnavigation, 164. 

Deluge, its date, 185. 

Descartes on automata, 128-180; 
his geometry, 305. 

" De Tribus Impostoribus," 148. 

Development theory, 118, 248. 

Diocletian opposes Christianity, 38 ; 
abdication of, 39. 

Dionysius Exiguus constructs chro- 
nology, 184. 

Dogmatic constitution of Catholic 
faith, 344, 354. 

Domestic improvements, 314-316. 

Dual government, 266, 342. 

Dualism, 15. 

Dii Bois-Reymond on the ant, 129. 


Earth, its form, 108 ; measured by 
Al-Mamun, 109 ; theological view 
of, 163 ; measures of, 155, 165 ; 
circumnavigation of, 164 ; meas- 
ured by the French, 166 ; dimen- 
sions of^ 167, 174 ; distance from 
the sun, 173 ; age of^ 182 ; oblate- 
ness of, 189 ; formation of, 189 ; 



antiquity of, 194 ; decline of her 
heat, 244. 

ISast, l^e, peculiarities of its reli- 
gious opinions, 69. 

Bicclesiastic, the, recommended to 
remember the past, 860. 

Edessa, college of, 73. 

Electric telegraph, 811. 

Emanation, doctrine of, 122, 358. 

Encyclical Letter, 852. 

Encyclopaedias, Arabian, 114. 

England, population of, 262. 

Ephesus, Council of, 72. 

Epiphanius on mineralogy, 214. 

Eratosthenes, his works, 28 ; meas- 
ures the earth, 155. 

Erigena, his philosophy, 125. 

Euclid, 27. 

Europe, its social condition, 264, 
268, 270; at the Reformation, 
266 ; dual government in, 266 ; 
popiilation, 264, 827; sects of, 

Eyangelical Alliance, 852. 

Everlasting gospel, 148, 206. 

Evolution, doctrine of, 247. 

Eymeric, the inquisitor, 208. 

Ezra, author of the Pentateuch, 
222 ; quotation from, 867. 


Fathers of the Church, their char- 
acter, 188. 

Fatalism of Arabs, 106. 

Faustus, his appeal to Augustine, 

Femel measures the earth, 165. 

Force, its indestructibility, 1 26. 

Fratricelli, their opinion, 284. 

Frauenhofer on spectra, 241. 

Frederick II., his ** Sicilian Ques- 
tions,'* 151. 

** Free Spirit," Brethren and Sisters 
of the, 209. 

French Revolution, 824. 


Galileo, discoveries of^ 170; pun- 
ishment, 171 ; mechanics, 288. 
Qenesis the basis of Christianity, 

67 ; Augustine's interpretation ofj 

69 ; criticism on^ 219. 
Geometry improved by the Sara^ 

cens, 112. 
Government of the world by law, 

Granada, surrender of, 148. 
Gratian's "Decretum," 211, 273. 
Gravitation, universal, 235. 
Guizot, his affirmation, 865. 


Hakem, his library, 142. 

Halley's comet, 269, 820. 

Hallucinations, religious cause qi^ 

Ha'roun - al • Raschid orgamzos 
schools. 111. 

Heaven, description o^ 70; the 
Mohammedan's, 109. 

Helena paganizes Christianity, 47. 

Heraclius, his expedition to Con- 
stantinople, 75 ; war with Chos- 
roes, 76 ; farewell to Syria, 91. 

Hero invents the steam-engine, 82. 

Herschel on double stars, 238 ; on 
the nebular hypothesis, 240. 

Hilary of Foictiers, quotation from, 

Hipparchus, 29. 

Holy Ghost, finger of the, 270. 

Honian the bookseller, 118. 

Huber on insects, 129. 

Hug^ns on nebula, 241. 

Humboldt on effect of Nature, 12. 

Hupfeld on the Pentateuch, 224. 

Hyadnthe, P^re, his views, 861, 

Hypatia, murder of, 65. 


Ibn-Junis, 116, 159. 
Incas, religious iUeas of tho, 857. 
Index Expurgatorius, 217« 
Indian arithmetic, 115. 
Individualism, 296. 
Indulgences, 212. 
InfallibiUty, 225. 
Inoculation, 218. 

Inquisition, 144, 207, 279 ; an ur- 
gent necessity, 362. 



Insects, 129. 
Insurance, 817. 
Intervention and law, 252. 
Invenlions, s^entific, 811. 
Isis, worship of, restored 48, 71. 


Jerusalem surrenders to Alexander, 
1 ; to Chosroes,'76 ; to the Sara- 
cens, 90, 91. 

Jews, their conversion ceases, 105 ; 
influence on tiie Saracens, 105 ; 
thdr psychology, 124 ; in Spain, 
144 ; banished from Spain, 147. 

Jesuiabbas treats with Hohammed, 

Jesuits in Prussia, 840. 

John the Grammarian, 105. 

Jugglery, 819. 

Justinian closes pagan schools, 56 ; 
Pandects o^ 210 ; effect of his 
Italian wars, 262. 


Kepler, laws of, 230 ; condemnation 
of, 231 ; anticipates Newton, 232. 
Ehaled, the Saracen general, 87. 
Ehalifates, the three, 99. 
Koran, the God of the, 84. 

Lactantius, quotation from, 64. 

Lambeth Articles, 253. 

Language, the primitive, 186. 

Languages, modem, 281. 

Laplace on nebular hypothesis, 

Latin Christianity, its effect, 255 ; 
language, use of, 280. 

Law, government of the world by, 

Legates, their duty, 273. 

Leibnitz, accusation against New- 
ton, 218. 

library, Alexandrian, 19 ; disper- 
sion of the, 54 ; destruction of, 
103 ; of Cairo, 113 ; Andalusian, 

Llamaism, 857. 

Llorente, on the Inquisition, 146. 

Locomotion, 812. 
Logarithms, invention of^ 806. 
Luther, 212, 295 ; against Aristotie, 


Macedonian campaign, 7. 

Magellan, his voyage, 164, 294. 

Magianism, 15 ; overthrown by Mo- 
hammed, 92. 

Maimonides, 143. 

Man, antiquity of, 195 ; develop- 
ment of, 249. 

Martel, Charles, overthrows the Sar- 
acens, 97. 

Mathematics, 803. 

Maurice, the Emperor, 74. 

Medical colleges, Saracen, 115 ; im- 
provements, 318. 

Memory, explanation of, 134. 

Menu, Institutes of, 122. 

Mercantile inventions, 317. 

Mexico, diminution of population, 
262 ; civilization of, 289. 

Miracle-evidence, 66, 206. 

Mississippi, advance of the, 190. 

Moawyah, the Ehalrf^ 110. 

Mohammed, at Bozrah, 78 ; his 
marriage, 80; batties, 82; death, 
83 ; rddgious opinions of, 84. 

Mohammedanism an oi&hoot of 
Nestorianism, 85 ; popular doc- 
trines of; 86, 101. 

Monotheism, tendency to, 35 ; ori- 
^ of, 70. 

Moors expelled from Spain, 148. 

Mos^o record, objections to the, 

Municipal improvements, 815. 

Museum, Alexandrian, 18, 20, 38. 

Nebular hypothesis, 289-243. 
Negro slavery, 288. 
Neptune; discovery of, 237. 
Nervous system, functions of, 131. 
Nestor, 61; follows the opinions 

of llieodore of Mopsuestia, 71 ; 

quarrels with Cyril, 72 ; tnal o^ 

72 ; death o^ 73. 
Nestorians are Aristotelians, 73 



Mohammedanism their offshoot, 
86 ; influence on the Saracens, 

Newton, Bishop, quotation from, 60. 

Newton, Sir L, discovers the earth's 
oblateness, 189 ; his " Principia," 
235, 237 ; example from his phi- 
losophy, 301. 

Nicea, Council of, 61, 63, 204. 

Nirwana, 122, 140. 

Noah divides the earth, 186. 


Observatory at Seville, 116. 
Omar, Jerusalem surrendered to, 

90; at Medina, 110. 
Organisms, their variation, 246. 


Pandects of Justinian, 210. 

Papacy the, its transformation, 
271 ; centralization of the, 273 ; 
Italian, 341. 

Papal revenues, 267, 275. 

Paper, invention of, 294. 

Parallax of the sun, 174 ; of the 
stars, 176. 

Patriarchs, their length of life, 187. 

Patristic philosophy, 63 ; chronolo- 
gy, 185. 

Pelagius, his doctrine and condem- 
nation, 66. 

Pelayo, Bishop, his statement, 276. 

Pendulum invented, 116. 

Pentateuch, Tertullian on the, 40 ; 
criticism of, 219. 

Pergamus, library of, 21, 103. 

Persepolis, 11. 

Persia, 3 ; campaigns in, 74 ; intel- 
lectual condition of, 14 ; religion 
of, 16. 

Peru, civilization' of, 289 ; reli^ous 
ideas of the Incas, 357/ 

Philip the Fair, 290. 

Philip of Macedon, 6. 

Philo the Jew, 123. 

Philoponus, John, asks for the Al- 
exandrian Library, 103. 

Philosophy a state crime, 66. 

Phocas, mutiny of, 74. 

Phlogiston, 302. 

Physicians, Jewish, 107. 

Picard measures the earth, 165, 236. 

Pigafetti, 164. 

Pius IX., his objects, 343. 

Platonism, 26. 

Plotinus, 123. 

Polygamy, practical eflfect of, 100. 

Pope, the mfallible, 226, 837 ; eleo* 

tion of the, 276. 
Population, theory of, 261. 
Posidonius measures the earth, 155. 
Prayers, Christian and Mohamme- 
dan, 108. 
Precession of the equinoxes, 30, 189. 
Predestination, 252. 
Prehistoric man, 196. 
Prmting, eflfects of, 137, 293. 
Protestantism, decomposition of^ 

297 ; reconciliation with Science, 

Prus^a, conflict of, with the pope> 

839 ; Church laws of, 340. 
Ptolemies, their policy, 32. 
Ptolemy Soter, birth of, 16 ; King 

of Egypt, 17 ; an author, 27. 
Ptolemy, the astronomer, 30; hia 

system, 157. 
Purgatory, 278. 

Pusey, Dr., translation quoted, 62. 
Pythagorean system, 156. 


Railways, 288. 

Reformation, 212, 296, 298, 359. 

Registry of nervous impressions, 

Renan on Averroism, 139. 

Revenues, papal, 276-278. 

Roman rites adopted into Chris- 
tianity, 48 ; aristocratic families, 
pagan, 51. 

Romances, Arabian, 113-117. 

Romanus, treason of, 88. 

Rome, at the Reformation, 266; 
political condition of, 269 ; so- 
cial condition of, 260 ; occupied 
by the Italian army, 337. 

Royal Society, 308. 


Salerno, college of, 115. 
Saracens, the, capture Jerusalem, 
90 ; Alexandria, 94 ; Carthage 



95 ; invade Spain, 96 ; France, 

97 ; insult Rome, 98 ; dissensions 

of, 99; disregard^ of European 

opinion, 99; dynasties of. 111. 
Schism, the Great, 2T9, 292. 
Science, sacred, 62; introduction 

into Europe, 290; influence of, 

Servetus, his opinions and murder, 

216, 363. 
Shell-mounds, 198. 
Sixtus v., his Bible, 359. 
Societies, Italian scientific, 300. 
Sophronius surrenders Jerusalem, 

Sosigenes rectifies the calendar, 81. 
Soul, the, 120 ; Vatican Council on 

the, 121 ; nature of the, 127. 
Spain, invasion of, 96. 
Spinoza, 149. 

Stars, distance of, 175 ; new, 177. 
Steam-engine, 312. 
Stoicism, 23, 251. 
Sim, distance of the, 173. 
Syllabus, 332 ; analysis of, 344. 
"Syntaxis" of Ptolemy, 30. 
SyphiUs, 269. 
Syria invaded by Chosroes, 76 ; by 

the Saracens, 87. 


Tarik invades Spain, 96. 

Taylor's theorem, 306. 

Telegraph, electric, 311. 

Telescope invented, 169. 

Tertullian, his apology, 39-45. 

Theodosius closes the temples, 54. 

Theophilus disperses the Alexan- 
drian Library, 54. 

Toleration, 298. 

Torquemada, the inquisitor, 146 ; 
bums Oriental manuscripts, 146. 

Tower of Babel, 186. 

Trent, Council of, 214. 

Trigonometry invented by the Sara- 
cens, 112, 116. 

Trinitarian dispute, 63. 

Trinity, St. Augustine on the, 61 

Plotinus on, 123. 
Truth, criterion of, 201. 


Universe, government of the, 228. 


Valentinian persecutes Platonists, 

Valerius procures the punishment 

of Pelagius, 56. 
Vanini, murder of, 216. 
Variation of the compass, 162. 
Vasco de Gama, 162. 
Vatican Council, 330. 
Vedaism, 121. 
Venus, transit of, 173, 320. 
Vicar of Christ, 273. 
Vinci, L. da, 233, 299.^ 
Virgin Mary, mother of God, 72 ; 

mUk of, 270. 


Waldenses, their declaration, 209. 
William of Malmesbury on the 

Anglo-Saxons, 266. 
Writing, effects of, 137. 


Xeres, battle of, 96. 
Ximenes bums Arabic manuscripts, 
104 ; perfidy of, 148. 


Yermuck, battle of^ 89. 


Zeno, 23. 

Zoroaster, his religion, 15. 
Zosimus reverses the opinion of 
Innocent I., 56. 


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bility in his statements, and has written with entire fidelity to the demands of truth 
and justice, there is not a word in his book that can give offense to candid and fair- 
minded readers."— A^. Y. Evening Post. 

" The key-note to this volume is found in the antagonism between the progressive 
tendencies of the human mind and the pretensions of ecclesiastical authority, as devel- 
oped in the history of modem science. No previous writer has treated the subject 
from this point of view, and the present monograph will be found to possess 00 1e|S 
originsdity of conception than vigor of reasoning and wealth of erudition. . . . Tre 
method of Dr. Draper, in his treatment of the various questions that come up for dis- 
cussion, is marked by singular impartiality as well as consummate ability. Through- 
out his work he maintains the position of an historian, not of an advocate. ^ His tone is 
tranquil and serene, as becomes the search after truth, with no trace of the impassioned 
ardor of controversy. He endeavors so far to identify himself with the contending 
parties as to gain a clear comprehension of their motives, but, at the same time, he 
submits their actions to the tests of a cool and impartial examination." — N. Y. Tribune. 

D. APPLETON & CO., Publishers, 549 & 551 Broadway, N. Y. 



By Herbert H. Bancroft. To be completed in 5 vols. Vol. I. now 
ready. Containing Wild Tribes : their Manners and Customs. 
I vol., 8vo. Cloth, $6 ; sheep, $7. 

"We can only say that if the remaining volumes are executed in the same spirit of 
candid and careful investigation, die same untiring industry, and intelligent £[Ood sense, 
which mark the volume before us, Mr. Bancroft's 'Native Kaces of the Pacific States' 
will form, as regards aboriginal America, an encyclopaedia of knowledge not only tm 
equaled but unapproached. A literary enterprise more desenriag of a p;enerous sym- 
pathy and support has never been undertaken on this side of the Atlantic"— FRANas 
rKRYiyAKtij'vciXh^ North Amerkan Review, 

*' The industry, sound judgment, and the excellent literary style d&played in this 
work, cannot be too highly ^x^iacd."'— Boston Fost* 


By John S. HiTTELU i vol., i2mo. Price, $1.50. 

" He writes in a popular stvle for popular use. He takes ground which has never 
been fully oc(;ppied before, although the general subject has been treated more or lest 
distinctly by several writers. . . . Mr. Hittell's method is compact, embracing a wide 
field in a few words, often presenting a mere hint, when a fuller treatment is craved by 
the reader; but, aldiough his book cannot be commended as a model of literary ar^ it 
may be consulted to great advantage by every lover of free thought and novel sugges- 
tions."— iV. Y, THbune, 



By John W. Draper, M. D., author of "The Intellectual Develop- 
ment of Europe.** I vol., i2mo. Cloth. Price, $1.75. 

"The conflict of which he treats has been a mighty tragedy of humanity that has 
draff eed nations into its vortex and involved the fate of empires. The work, though 
sm^ is full of instrucdon regarding the rise of the great ideas of science and philos- 
ophy ; and he describes in an impressive manner and with dramatic effect the way re- 
ligious authority has employed the secular power to obstruct the progress of knowledge 
and crush out the spirit of investigation. While there is not in his lK>ok a word of dis- 
respect for things sacred, he writes with a directness of speech, and a vividness of char- 
acterization and an unflinching fidelity to the facts, which show him to be in thorough 
earnest widi his work. The ' History of the Conflict between Religion and Science' 
is a fitting sequel to the 'History of the Intellectual Development of Europe,' and will 
add to its author's already high reputation as a philosophic historian." — N. Y, Tribune, 


Rev. Stopford Brooke, i vol., i2mo. Price, $2. 

** Apart from its literary merits, the book may be said to possess an independent 
value, as tending to familiarize a certain section of the English public with more en- 
lightened views of theology."— Z.<;«<^» Athenaum, 


A Telegraph Code and Double Index — Holocryptic Cipher. By J. G. 
Bloomer, i vol., 8vo. Price, $5. 

By the use of this work, business communications of whatever nature may be tel» 
graphed with secrecy and economy. 

D. AFPLETON ft CO., PubUshen, New York. 

Recent Pu blication s— scientific. 


plications to the Training and Discipline of the Mind, and the Study of its 

Morbid Conditions. By W. B. Carpbntbr, F. R. S., etc. Illustrated. Z2nu>. 

737 pages. Price, $3.00. 

** Tha work U pit^bably th« ablest expotltion of th« rabject which ha* be«n giTeo to the world, and eoes 

far to ettabliih a new tvttem of M«ntai Fhilotopbjr, upon a moch broader and more Bubstantial basi* Uian 

it has heretofore %tood."— St. Louit Democrat. 

" Let Of add that nothing we have eaid, or in an j limited tpaoe conid aay, wonld gjve an adeqnat* con- 
ception of the valuable and carious collection of fikcta bearing on morbid mental conditioni, the learned 
phvtiologlcal exposition, and the treasure-house of useful hints for menial trainins', which maJce this large 
an^ vet very amusing, as well as instructive book, an encyolopsedia of well-cussified and often very 
startling psjchological experiences. "—i<(nu<Q» Sptinivr* 

THE EXPANSE OP HEAVEN. A Series of Essays on the Wonders of 
the Firmament By R. A. PROCtoR, B. A. 

" A rery charming work ; cannot fail to lift the reader's mind np ' through Nature's work to Nature's 
God.' "—LmtUm SUtndard, 

** Prot R. A. Proctor is one of the very few rhetorical sdentists who have the art of maUag seienee 
popular wiUtoat mining it or themselTOs contemptible. It will be hard to find anywhere else so much 
skill in eflbctive expression, combined with so much genuine astronomical learning, as is to be seen in his 
new volume." — Ckrialiam Union. 

PHYSIOLOGY POR PBACTICAX USE. By various Writcn. Edited 
by James HiNTON. With 50 Illustrations, x vol., i2mo. Price, $2.25. 

*'ThIs book is one of rare value, and will prove useful to a large class in the c(Hnniunitv. Its diief 
recommendation is in its applying the laws of the science of physiology to cases of the deranged, or diseased 
operations of Ute organs or processes of the human system. It is as thoroughly practical as is a book of 
formulas of medicine, and tne stvle in which the information is given is so entirely devoid-of the mystification 
tit technical or scientific terms tnat the most simple can easily comprehend it.''— Boston Gatette. 

** Of all the works upon health of a popular character which we have met with for some time, and we 
are glad to think that this most important branch of knowledge is becoming mote enlarged every day, 
the work before us appears to be the simplest, the soundest, and the best" — Chicago Inttr-Ocean, 

THE QBE AT ICE AQE, and its Belatdons to the Antiqiiity of 

Man. By James Gbikib, F. R. S. £. With Maps, Charts, and numerous Illus- 
trations, z vol., thick z2mo. Price, $2.50. 

«' * The Great Ice Age ' is a work of extraordinary interest and value. The subject is peculiarly 
attractive in the immensity of its scope, and exercises a ffMcination over the imagination so absorbing that 
It can scarcely find expression in words. It has all the charms of wonder-tales, and excites •cientl& and 
noscientiflc minds alike."— AMton Oatctte. 

" Every step in the process is traced with admirable perspicuity and fullness by Mr. Geikie."— Xon- 
doH Saturday tUview. 

" * Ttie Great Ice Age,' bv JamM Geilde, is a book that qnites the popular and abstruse elements ot 
scientific research to a remarkable decree. The author recounts a story that is more romantic thsn nice 
novels out of ten, and we have read the book from first to last with nnflagging interest." — Botton Uommer- 
eial BuUetin, 

TION, assembled at Belfast. By John Tyndall, F. R. S., President Re- 
vised, with additions,, by the author, since the delivery. z2mo. lao pages. 
Paper. Price, 50 cents. 

This edition of this now fsmous address Is the only one authorised by the author, and contains addi- 
tions and corrections not in the newspaper reports. 

THE PHYSIOLO&Y OP MAN. Designed to represent the Existing State 
of Physiological Science as applied to the Functions of the Human Body. By 
Austin Flint, Jr., M. D. Complete in Five Volumes, octavo, of about 500 
pages each, with 105 Illustrations. Cloth, $22.00 ; sheep, $27.00. Each vol- 
ume sold separately. Price, cloth, $4.50; sheep, $5.50. Tne fifth and last 
volume has just been issued. 

The alwve is bv far the most complete work on hnman physiology In the Enelish lang^ge. It treats 
of the functions of the human body from a practical point of view, and is enriched by many original ex- 

{leriments and observations by the anthor. Considerable space is g^ren to physiological anatomy, par- 
icularly the structure of glandular organs, the digestive system, nervous sjrstem, blood-vessels, ctglins of 
special sense, and organs of generation. It not only considers the various functions of the body, from an 
experimental stand-point, but Is peculiarly rich in citations of the literature of physiology. It is therefore 
invaluable as a work of reference for those who widi to study the subject of physiology exhaustively. As 
a complete treatise on a subject of such interest, it diould be in the libraries of literary and scientific men, 
as well as in the hands of practitioners and students of medicine. Illustrations are introduced wherever 
they are necessary for the elucidation of the text. 

D. APPLETON & CO., Publishers, 549 & 551 Broadway, N. Y. 





King freorge IV. & King William IV. 

By the Late CHAS. C. F. GREVILLE, Esq., 
Clerk of the Council to those -Sovereigns. 

Edited by Henry Reeve, Registrar of the Privy Council. 

12mo. PRICE, $4.00. 

This edition contains the complete text as published in the three volumes 

of the English edition. 

*' The sensation created by these Memoirs, on their first appearance, was not out of 
proportion to their real interest. They relate to a period of our history second only in 
importance to the Revolution of x683 ; they portray manners which have now disap- 
peared frqm society, yet have disappeared so recently that middle-aged men can recol- 
fect them ; and they concern the conduct of very eminent persons, of whom some are 
still living, while of others the memory is so fresh that they still seem almost to be con- 
temporaneous."— T'-A^ Academy. 

" Such Memoirs as these are the most interesting contributions to history that can 
be made, and the most valuable as well. The man deserves gratitude from his pos- 
terity who, being placed in the midst of events that have any importance, and of people 
who bear any considerable part in them, sits down day by day and makes a record of 
his' observations." — Buffalo Courier. 

** The Greville Memoirs, already in a third edition in London, in little more than 
two months, have been republbhed by D. Appleton & Co., New York. The three 
loosely-printed English volumes are here given in two, without the slightest abridg- 
ment, and the price, which is nine dollars across the water, here is only four. It 
is not too much to say that this work, though not so ambitious in its style as Horace 
Walpole's well-known 'Correspondence,'^ is much more interesting. In a word, these 
Greville Memoirs supply valuable matetials not alone for political, but also forsocisl 
history during the time they cover. They are additionally attractive from the large 
quantity of racy anecdotes which they contain." — Philadelphia Press. 

** These are a few among many illustrations of the pleasant, gossipy information con- 
veyed in these Memoire, whose great charm is the free ar.d straightforward manner in 
which the writer chronicles his impressions of men and events." — Boston Daily Globe. 

** As will be seen, these volumes are of remarkable interest, and fully justify the en- 
comiums that heralded their appearance in this coimtry. They will attract a large cir- 
cle of readers here, who will find in their gossipy pages an almost inexhaustible fund of 
instruction and amusement." — Boston Saturday Evening Gazette. 

*' Since the publication of Horace Walpole's Letters, no book of greater historical 
interest has seen the jight than the Greville Memoirs. It throws a curious, and, we 
may almost say, a terrible light on the conduct and character of the public men in Eng- 
land under the reigns of Georee IV. and William IV. Its descriptions of those kings 
and their kinsfolk arc never likely to be forgotten."—^. Y. Times. 

D. APPLETON & CO., Publishers, 549 & 551 Broadway, N. Y. 




IViiA Portraits and Views, Volume the First, x^tno. Cloth, Price ^ $2.oa 

" The book, indeed, is more comprehensive than its title implies. Purporting to 
tell the life of the Prince Consort, it includes a scarcely less minute biography — ^whicb 
may be re^^ded as almost an autobiography— of the Queen herself; and, when it is 
complete, it will probably present a more minute history of the domestic life of a queen 
and ner ' master ' (the term is Her Majesty's) than has ever before appeared." — From 
the Athefueum. 

** Mr. Martin has accomplished his task with a success which could scarcely have 
been anticipated. His biography of Prince Albert would be Suable and instructive 
even if it were addressed to remote and indifferent readers who had no special interest 
in the English court or in die royal family. Prince Albert's actual celebrity is insepa- 
rably associated with the high position which he occupied^ but his claim to permanent 
reputation depends on the moral and intellectual qualities which were singularly 
adapted to the circumstances of his career. In any rank of life he would probably 
have attained distinction ; but his prudence, his self-denial, and his aptitude for acquir- 
ing practical knowledge, could scarcely have found a more suitable field of exercise 
than in his peculiar situation as the acknowledged head of a constitutional monarchy." 
From the Saturday Review, 

^ ** The atithor writes with dignity and grace, he values his subject, and treats him 
with a certain courtly reverence, yet never once sinks into the panegyrist, and while 
apparently most frank— so frank, that the reticent English people may feel the intimacy 
ot his domestic narratives almost painful — he is never once betrayed into a momentary 
indiscretion. The almost idyllic beauty of the relation between the Prince Consort 
and the Queen comes out as fully as in all previous histories of that relation — and we 
have now had three — as does also a good deal of evidence as to the Queen's own 
character, hitherto alwavs kept down, and, as it were, self efiaced in publications 
written or sanctioned by herself." — From the London Spectator, 

"Of the abilities which have been claimed for the Prince Consort, this work afibrds 
us small means of judging. But of his wisdom, strong sense of duty, and great dimity 
and purity of character, Ae volume furnishes ample evidence. In this way it will be 
of service to any one who reads it." — From the New Voyk Evening Post. 

** There is a striking contrast between this volume and the Grevifle Memoirs, which 
relate to a period in English history immediately preceding Prince Albert's marriage 
with Queen Victoria. Radical changes were effected in court-life by Victoria's acces- 
sion to the throne. . . . In the work before us, which is the unfolding of a model home- 
life, a life in fact unrivaled in the abodes of modem royalty, there is nothing but what 
the purest mind can read with real pleasure and profit. 

*' Mr. Martin draws a most exquisite portraiture of the married life of the royal pair, 
which seems to have been as nearly perfect as any thing human can be. The volume 
closes shortly after the Revolution of 1848, at Paris, when Louis Philippe and his hap- 
less queen were fleeing to England in search of an asylum from the fearful forebodings 
which overhung their pathway. It was a trying time for England, but, says Mr. Mar- 
tin with true dramatic effect m the closing passages of his book: *When the storm 
burst, it found him prepared. In rising to meet the difficulties of the hour, the prince 
found the best support in the cheerful courage of the queen,' who on the 4th of 
April of that same year wrote to King Leopold : ' I never was calmer and quieter ot 
less nervous. Great events make me calm ; it is only trifles that irritate my nerves.' 
Thus ends the first volume of one of the most important biographies of the present 
time. The second volume will follow as soon as its preparation can be effected."— 
From the Hartford Evening Post, 


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